This is what utilities are really afraid of. SunPower and KB Homes partnered on a pilot program to incorporate battery backups to solar-powered homes. Solar-powered homes with integrated battery storage at competitive prices—meaning the homes could more realistically sever themselves from the grid.
"With energy storage capability homeowners with solar power systems and home system monitoring today can control their electricity costs and have the security of knowing they'll have power during an outage,” said SunPower CEO Tom Werner. “In the near future, battery storage will help homeowners manage energy loads using stored power, including charging electric vehicles at night.”
Under the new pilot the companies will install the batteries in in select KB Home communities in Irvine, El Dorado Hills, and San Diego, Calif., according to SunPower. The companies say there’s also the potential for a broader rollout to additional KB Homes communities next year. Since SunPower and KB Homes already offer solar power in more than 150 KB Homes communities that could be in a wide range of areas.
"Battery storage and energy management services are highly complementary to residential solar systems," Werner said. "Together, they help further reduce the monthly cost of energy, maximize value and energy security, and provide a hedge against rising utility costs.” The company also is piloting energy storage solutions in Australia and Germany.
The systems are anticipated to produce savings for the homeowners. KB Home anticipated that a 1.4-kilowatt solar panel array from SunPower installed as a standard part of a 3,654-square-foot, Energy Star certified home at its Vicenza community in California will save the homeowners about $216 per month over homes without the array and energy efficient features. That’s equivalent to approximately $25,900 over 10 years.
"Offering our new homebuyers highly advanced energy-efficient features is a key differentiator for KB Home, and we are proud to partner with SunPower to pilot the energy storage solutions," said Dan Bridleman, senior vice president of Sustainability, Technology and Strategic Sourcing for KB Home.
One of the first KB Home locations to participate in SunPower's energy storage pilot program is the builder's Vicenza at Orchard Hills in Irvine, a community where all KB homes will include SunPower solar power systems.
Other companies are also starting to offer similar systems to homeowners. For instance, last year NRG Energy announced plans to integrate battery storage and solar arrays for homes through its NRG Residential Solar subsidiary. Both show that as the price of both solar panels—and, more importantly—batteries come down, companies are looking at them as a more viable and cost-effective option for homes and businesses.Tweet