Battery storage is here

We can help you make an informed decision about whether battery storage is right for you.

 

Business customers are looking for ways to lower their cost of doing business every day. Battery storage allows you to have access to backup power, and if used correctly it can also lower demand and the energy charges on your utility bill.

Benefits of battery storage

Backup power

In the event of a power outage, battery storage systems can provide power and reliability. Unlike backup generators, battery storage systems can supply power to your critical equipment and loads in the event of a power outage.

Bill savings

A commercial battery storage system allows you to reduce demand charges ($/kW) and energy costs ($/kWh) to the typical commercial energy bill (without considering the cost of battery lease or purchase). Learn more about our commercial rates.

Environmental impacts

If your storage system is installed with solar generation on site, you can shift your excess solar generation to peak periods, thereby reducing your carbon emissions and lessening the demand on the community grid.

Frequently asked questions

How does a battery storage system operate?
Battery storage systems are a way of storing and releasing electrical energy in a chemical manner. Battery storage systems store the energy in the batteries and an inverter converts that DC energy to AC energy your business can use. The battery can be charged using energy from a solar PV system or the grid. The battery is discharged to reduce peak demand, shift energy consumption during low cost periods into more expensive (peak) time periods and for backup power in the event of an outage.

What is the lifespan of a battery storage system?
Typically, stationary battery systems last about 10 years for Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) varieties. The warranty period for batteries is set by your battery system manufacturer.

Do all battery storage systems provide backup power?
Many battery storage systems can provide backup power if they are configured to do so. A battery can be configured to reserve some energy to provide backup power for critical loads while still using the majority of the storage to lower your business demand charges. Be sure to communicate with your contractor how much, if any, of your battery capacity you want to dedicate to backup power.

Is battery storage safe?
Safe installation should follow National Electric Code (NEC), SMUD’s Electrical Service Requirements, and any additional requirements of your local building permitting agency. Follow manufacturer’s care, use and service criteria to ensure safest possible operation.

Can I add battery storage system on already existing solar installations?
Yes, you can add battery storage to existing solar installations. Your battery installation contractor will determine what is necessary to complete a retrofit installation.

Can I install battery storage systems without installing a solar system?
Yes. However, your battery storage will not qualify for Net Energy Metering (NEM) and therefore will not be compensated for exporting stored energy to the grid. It is possible to charge your battery during low cost periods of time and use that stored energy to serve your loads during higher cost time periods to avoid on peak grid costs. Most commercial storage installations are expected to be used to lower demand charges.

How long will a battery storage system power my business during an outage?
Backup power duration is determined by the size of the battery you install and the critical loads required to operate during an outage. The number of critical loads being powered from the battery storage system during an outage will significantly impact the backup power duration. It is expected most commercial storage projects will primarily be operated to lower demand charges and not as a backup power source.

How much can I save on my SMUD bill by installing a battery storage system?
Generally speaking, energy storage is not cost effective today. The total savings from an energy storage system is usually less than the cost of the energy battery system. Battery energy storage can save money on your bill by reducing your peak demand ($/kW) charges and by consuming low cost energy that can be used later during high cost time periods ($/kWh). You may have specific needs for backup power, but reserving energy for backup power does not reduce electricity costs.

What size battery system should I consider for my Business?
System size varies based on the size of your businesses energy usage profile. Your Strategic Account Advisor can help you determine the best size battery for your business.

How can I learn more about battery storage systems?
If you are interested in learning more about battery storage systems, please attend a SMUD class to get a better grasp of this new technology. Also, get multiple bids before you sign a contract.

Does SMUD have any requirements on how I install my battery?
SMUD requires that the battery storage system installation follows the National Electric Code (NEC), requirements of your local building permitting agency and SMUD’s Electrical Service Requirements for Distributed Generation. 

The interconnection process for battery storage is very similar to interconnection of solar PV systems. Battery storage systems will be processed through SMUD PowerClerk portal. This step by step web tool will make your interconnection process easy and straight forward. Your contactor will most likely handle the process for you.

Do battery storage system installations qualify for other incentives?
Battery systems charged by renewable resources may be eligible for state and federal incentives and tax credits (Federal Investment Tax Credit and California Self Generation Incentive Program).  Check with your contractor and tax advisor for more details.

Commercial Battery Storage program

We’re currently offering qualified commercial battery storage customers an incentive for your commitment to operate your battery system in a way that reduces your electricity costs and contributes to a healthier environment. Your battery is most likely already operating in this mode.

The battery incentives are based upon the storage units kW rating:

Storage  Incentive per site
15kW - 30kW  $600
30.1 kW - 75kW  $1,000
75.1kW - 150kW  $2,000
150.1kW+  $5,000
                   

In the event that there are multiple storage units on a single site, all incentives will be based upon total system size. No more than a single incentive will be offered for any one site or SMUD account.

By participating, you may be eligible for future programs that:

  1. Provide additional incentives
  2. Allow your battery to provide grid services that compensate you more during peak times
  3. Reduce the risk of wasted solar energy during days and times when there is excess solar energy

To apply for an incentive or to learn more, email energystorage@smud.org.

 

Commitment to operate 

Solar PV + battery/NEM eligible customers: System owner commits that at least 51% of the proposed battery capacity will be used to shift energy generated from solar to offsetting loads during the on-peak periods. Any incidental energy (kWh) discharge to the grid will be credited at normal Net Energy Metering rates.

Battery only - non-export /not NEM eligible: System owner commits that at least 51% of the proposed battery capacity will be used to shift energy usage from on-peak periods to off-peak periods. Be aware non-solar connected storage is not eligible for Net Energy Metering and therefore any incidental export will not be compensated.