Solar power with energy storage leads to energy savings for low-income renters in California. That’s according to a new study by the Clean Energy Group and its partners, which is making the case for expanding access to solar power to low-income residents in California.
The new report, Closing the California Clean Energy Divide, was authored by the California Housing Partnership, Center for Sustainable Energy, and Clean Energy Group and shows how solar power backed up with battery storage help system owners and users control their energy use.
“Our analysis, which is based on data from real buildings, shows that adding battery storage to a solar PV system installed on an affordable housing property in Southern California could increase the annual savings on a property owner’s electricity bill to 99 percent, which is nearly double the savings of what a solar-alone system can provide,” said Seth Mullendore, a program manager at Clean Energy Group.
The report comes out shortly after California enacted its Multifamily Affordable Housing Solar Roofs (Solar Roofs) Program, which was created by enacting Assembly Bill 693. Starting in 2017 over the next 10 years the program will provide up to $1 billion in cap-and-trade funding to install solar PV systems.
“Many affordable housing owners are interested in exploring energy storage, both for the economic benefits and improved resiliency of a property,” said Wayne Waite, policy director at California Housing Partnership. “This report fills the information gap for owners so they can better understand these emerging technologies.”
Stand-alone solar can reduce energy consumption expenses but doesn’t offset expensive demand-related charges. The report found that under current utility rate tariffs solar with energy storage could reduce an affordable property owner’s annual electric utility bill to less than a few hundred dollars.
To put it into numbers a $385,000 solar system at a multifamily residence in California can produce $15,000 in annual savings, according to the report. Adding a $112,100 battery system to that array can boost annual savings to $27,900. The report explained that it’s an 85 percent increase in savings while costing only 29 percent more. In some cases it can reduce project payback by over three years, it found.
The new program could reach roughly a third of California’s existing affordable multifamily properties. However Sachu Constantine, director of policy at Center for Sustainable Energy, cautioned, “Recent changes to the critical underlying rates and tariffs may compromise the value proposition of solar for affordable housing residents and owners unless we find a way to include the combination of energy storage and solar in the Solar Roofs program.”
The report authors will host a webinar on June 15 to discuss the report. To register for the webinar visit www.cleanegroup.org/webinar/reducing-electric-bills-california-multifamily-affordable-housing-solar-storage.Tweet