Solar Battery Storage: Overview and PG&E Incentives

In addition to reducing fossil fuel consumption and diminishing your carbon footprint, you can reduce your monthly PG&E electricity bill, improve the resale value of your home and avoid power loss during outages with your own solar-battery system. In the long run, installing your own solar rooftop system with a home battery saves you money, especially when you take advantage of existing rebates and incentives.

Battery Benefits

If you have a home battery, you can charge it with electricity from PG&E whenever you like and store it for future use. This ensures that when the power goes out, you still have electricity. This is essential for people who rely on power for medical life support equipment or have electric well pumps. It is beneficial for people who want to buy electricity at off-peak rates (during morning and late-night hours) and consume it during peak rate times. If you have solar panels, a battery provides a place to store surplus energy that you generate.

Battery Storage for Solar

Solar energy generated from your own solar panel system can be used to power your home, stored in a home battery, or sold back to the PG&E electricity grid. If you don’t have a battery to store surplus solar energy created during daylight hours, you must sell it back to the electricity grid at a rate much lower than what you pay for energy. You will pay more for consumed electricity and get paid less for your surplus solar energy. With no home battery, you must purchase electricity from PG&E during evening and night hours. Those times are considered peak pricing, when the cost per kWh is highest.

Battery Characteristics

Battery storage systems come in different sizes and at different costs and lifespans. Most home batteries are lithium-ion, last at least 10 years and are about the size of a dishwasher. They can be installed indoors (like in a ventilated closet or utility room), in a garage or outside. Noise is usually not a problem, as it does not exceed that of a typical air conditioner.

Different batteries are better for different applications, so you’ll need to consider both the power rating to determine how much electricity can be delivered and the capacity to determine duration. A battery that occasionally powers a few lights and appliances has different specifications than a battery that must power an entire house on a daily basis.

PG&E SGIP: Battery Incentive Programs

PG&E customers can take advantage of the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). This program provides free or discounted solar storage batteries to those who qualify. In order to qualify, you must live in a designated high fire-threat district or have been shut off in a public safety power shutoff (PSPS) event at least three times AND fall into one or more of these categories:

  • You use life-supporting medical equipment.
  • Your water comes from an electric well pump.
  • You have reserved incentives in the SASH or DAC-SASH solar programs based on your income.
  • You meet other income-qualified criteria.

To see if you qualify for PG&E SGIP and get accurate costs and savings on solar energy and battery systems, please reachout to EnergyPal and an Energy Advisor will help you navigate the information.

References

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