As the increased risk of natural disasters causes more and more homes, hospitals, businesses, and other buildings to fear for their energy security due to blackouts and issues stemming from outdated power infrastructure, high-risk states are beginning to wise up and invest in energy storage technologies. California in particular is in the national spotlight now due to recent wildfires, but efforts to secure energy access for consumers are underway in parts of the country affected by hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes as well. While community microgrids are also the subject of renewed interest, investments in battery storage are one of the first steps we can take to ensure access to power in the event of a blackout or natural disaster.
California Shifts Investments Toward Battery Storage
As reported by Greentech Media, “California regulators are proposing a new role for SGIP (the state’s Self-Generation Incentive Program): giving battery-solar backup systems to those at greatest risk of wildfires and blackouts.” Beneficiaries would include low-income or medically vulnerable residents, those who rely on energy-powered medical devices for health reasons, who live in areas that are at high risk of experiencing wildfires or blackouts imposed as fire-prevention measures. California’s bankrupt utility company, PG&E, instituted rolling blackouts this past fall in an effort to prevent further wildfires from starting as a result of outdated, improperly maintained power lines. The impact on consumers was especially devastating for those who are medically vulnerable.
In order to strengthen these consumers’ energy security, California will “shift 63 percent of the total (SGIP) budget through 2024, or $513 million, to serving these high-need customers. Added to September’s allocation, that’s $613 million, or half of SGIP’s $1.2 billion in present and future funding, that would go to the equity resiliency budget.” This investment goes towards battery backups that will enable beneficiaries to power their homes in the event of discontinued utility service due to a blackout or natural disaster.
Solar + Storage On the Rise
For those looking to benefit from solar energy in their home, business, or other property, the greatest value results from producing and storing your own energy for immediate or future use. The solar-plus-storage model means that instead of exporting excess power or selling it back to the utility companies, consumers can store the excess energy they produce for use at a later time. Often, storing solar power results in a consumer’s ability to cut the cord from utility companies entirely.
States such as California making major investments in battery storage technology adds “another major boost to a market primed for major growth in response to PG&E’s blackouts,” and not just in California. According to a report from Wood Mackenzie, “the U.S. energy storage market bounced back in the third quarter of 2019, both in front of and behind the meter.” Due in part to initiatives like California’s, they are predicting an even bigger year for solar + storage technology in the coming year. Brett Simon, the senior storage analyst for Wood Mackenzie, notes that they “expect one in five residential solar systems installed in California in 2020 will be paired with storage” batteries.
The major manufacturers of battery storage technology, including Tesla, SunRun, and SunPower, also predict growth as consumers in California and across the country embrace the solar + storage model to ensure their energy security and save money on utility bills.
Strengthening Energy Security
At Solar Design Studio, we’re committed to providing our clients with access to a full range of solar energy technologies, including battery storage. We encourage consumers to consider storage options as an essential part of a solar energy system. Solar + storage enables greater energy security, system flexibility, and significant savings.
If you’d like to learn more about battery storage options and how they can complement an existing or future solar installation, contact us today!