Last week more than 18,000 Silicon Valley Clean Energy customers lost power during the PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). Losing power affects everything with our daily routines, especially for those who rely on medical devices at home. Additionally, planning for an outage can cause a lot of stress and chaos to those who are unsure about their energy reliability.
Solar users who also have battery storage experienced less panic than the average Bay Area resident. Flashlights and candles can take you so far, but what this past week has shown us is that we, as northern Californians, may be overlooking the value of battery storage. The PG&E shutoffs showed us that a solar system, without battery storage, is susceptible to the same outages as the grid. Thousands of SVCE customers have solar systems in place while only a few hundred have battery storage. To put it in perspective, one average battery, if used conscientiously, could power your home for a few days. Making a battery last a few days would mean you could: charge your phone, power an electric blanket for heating, boil water or make a simple meal, and watch your TV to get the latest news. While you won’t be able to fully power all your usual activities, it would be enough to get you through a few days without power during another PSPS event.
When not worrying about a PSPS event, solar plus batteries can also help with utility bill reduction. When your power goes out, the battery will remain charged and only discharge power when the utility grid goes down. But for the rest of the year, a battery can reduce utility costs by serving a portion of your home’s electricity use during peak hours and recharging during non-peak hours. This results in a utility bill reduction because your battery is compensating for energy used during the most expensive hours of the day. You do not have to pick one or the other, batteries can be set to operate within the range of full-time backup power, to full-time bill reduction and anywhere in between. Whether it is power shutoff precautions or bill savings, solar paired with batteries provides an opportunity for you to take back control of your electricity. If you’re interested in learning more about battery storage, visit Energy Sage and there are state incentives available through the Self Generation Incentive Program.