Backup Power, Blackout Protection, and Load Shaving
Why Battery and Microgrid Systems Make Sense
Since Tesla’s Powerwall has made batteries more accessible and affordable, batteries have been on the minds of many homeowners. The reality of increasing blackouts and grid failures make battery installation a valuable addition to your home.
Typically, there are three reasons you want a battery: 1) to have backup power when needed; 2) to utilize the stored battery power to offset your home energy use at night; and 3) to offset the higher costs of high demand energy (where permitted by the utility company).
The benefits of a home battery system can be significant, especially if you already have solar installed. A home battery allows you to store excess solar energy as backup power in the event the grid goes down, or to offset high demand charges if you are on time-of-use billing.
Powerwall is designed to qualify for the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) when it is installed on an existing or new solar system and is charged 100% with solar energy. It does not qualify when installed without solar or if solar is installed after Powerwall.
To encourage more residential storage deployments in California, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) established the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). The program provides incentives to help reduce the costs of storage to consumers. Residential storage batteries, like Powerwall, reduce strain on the grid and in turn help reduce the need to build expensive fossil fuel-fired power plants. Learn more about the California Self-Generation Incentive Program. Blue Sky Energy, as a Tesla Certified Installer still has allocations for SGIP.
Homeowners can take advantage of rebates and tax credits up to 30%
Our business clients enjoy a 30% tax credit for solar and batteries. California offers a 30% investment tax credit, 100% depreciation for the first year up to $1,000,000, and an attractive rebate program. In addition, the system can be programmed to offset demand charges, which can add up to 50% of a company’s electrical bill. Please contact us for the most up-to-date information on incentives.
Blue Sky Energy has installed residential battery systems since 2010 when we had to custom build our systems using various components. Our first one weighed over 4,000 pounds! Since then, the market for energy storage options has many providers like Tesla, Sonnen, and Pika.
Many homeowners and businesses are now taking advantage of installing battery backup to their solar panel system. If you install batteries with solar you can take advantage of the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit as well as savings from load shaving and energy arbitrage.
How Home Batteries Work
First, let’s recap how electricity gets to your home without using a home battery. In the USA, there are basically three grids throughout the county. Transmission lines transport electricity from power generating plants through the grid to the main distribution panel of your home. This distribution panel is the connection between the grid and your appliances, light switches, outlets, etc. As you know, when the power service from the grid is interrupted, all the electricity-dependent features of your home are out of service.
With a home battery, you can mitigate the chance of losing electricity throughout your home because the battery holds energy that is supplied by either the grid or solar panels. With the installation of a home battery, a critical loads panel is also installed. The critical loads panel is to your home battery what the main distribution panel is to the grid.
In case of a power outage, the home battery supplies power to the critical loads panel and all circuits connected to it. That means any electricity-dependent items in your home will have power if they are connected to the critical loads panel.
If you have a solar system and it is connected to the critical loads panel, you essentially have a self-sustaining power source via islanding. Normally when the grid goes down your solar system will shut down but with islanding you can generate energy during a grid outage to generate solar electricity to supply your home with electricity as well as to charge the home battery throughout the day. At night, your electricity needs can be met by the battery’s stored energy.
Blue Sky Energy designed and built a 4kW PV array and solar thermal platform on my house in Pacific Palisades. They are knowledgeable, professional and efficient. I have been in the general construction business for many years and worked with other solar companies. The solar industry is relatively new and crowded with inexperienced and uneducated companies. Blue Sky ‘gets it,’ and are a highly qualified group that will be on the top of my sub-contractor list.