As part of SMUD`s $5.9 million SolarSmart program, which is backed by the Department of Energy, California Energy Commission and SunPower, lithium-ion batteries have been installed in 42 homes in the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
The aim of the program is to understand if the batteries in a hybrid solar system can ease load demand and provide more electricity when renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power are not sufficient . The study also aims to deduce how battery storage and solar mesh with time-of-use rates, whereby customers pay more for electricity during peak hours and less during low-demand times. As the batteries provide power during peak demand, customers could save money by not drawing all their power from the grid during those hours.
SMUD hopes to have a much better idea whether energy storage benefits the customer and the utility, and how best to operate the system after the completion of this study.