Battery storage for homeowners
See if battery storage is right for you.
Customers are looking for ways to consume more of the solar energy they're producing. By shifting your excess solar generation to peak periods such as hot summer evenings, you're reducing your carbon emissions and the demand on the electric grid. Battery storage is a backup power source as well as a way to store your home’s solar energy for later use when the sun isn’t shining.
Benefits of battery storage
By shifting your excess solar generation to peak periods, you're reducing your carbon emissions and the demand on the electric grid, putting us closer to our goal of reaching zero carbon emissions in our power supply by 2030 – the most ambitious goal of any large utility in the United States.
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Battery storage incentives
We have a variety of battery storage incentives available for residential customers.
Join SMUD’s voluntary program, My Energy Optimizer®, and earn financial incentives for making your battery storage unit an even smarter device.
When you partner with SMUD, your battery will reduce energy usage during the hours when demand is highest and clean energy resources are scarce. This could include shifting the time when your battery is used to power your home. The interactions would be seamless to you and no extra effort is needed on your part.
To be eligible for the program, you must have a battery storage unit installed at your home and participate in SMUD’s new Solar and Storage Rate.
If you’re adding a new solar system with battery storage or a battery storage system only, there's a one-time interconnection fee to connect to SMUD’s grid to recover the cost of providing interconnection service. Your solar installer should already be aware of this new fee. If you're adding battery storage to an existing solar system, an interconnection fee does not apply.
All levels of participation include a one-time incentive of up to $2,500 that is paid after the interconnect application reaches a project complete status and enrollment onboarding process is completed. The Partner and Partner+ program levels have ongoing performance payments. See details below.
Levels of participation
My Energy Optimizer Partner level allows SMUD to optimize your battery storage system to respond to Peak Events during summer months, when energy demand is highest. SMUD will communicate Peak Events in advance and your battery will respond automatically.
When you join My Energy Optimizer Partner, you'll participate in our Critical Peak Pricing rate. This rate is in addition to your current Time-of-Day (5-8 p.m.) Rate and gives you a discount on energy throughout the summer in exchange for higher energy prices during Peak Events. Customers with storage and/or solar will also receive $.50 per kWh for energy sent back to the grid during a Peak Event. You'll have battery capacity reserved for back-up power needs.
Once enrolled, you don't need to reconfigure your battery storage system. SMUD has partnered with the industry to make your household’s response to Peak Events seamless. The program will ensure your battery is at full charge prior to a Peak Event and that your battery discharges during the Peak Event, with no extra work on your part.
*The Partner program level is under development.
Learn more about My Energy Optimizer programs and incentives for thermostats.
The most engaged level of participation. Instead of the summer-only Peak Events in the Partner level, Partner+ optimizes your battery year-round. The battery will continue to be available for customer use, such as back-up power needs in the event of an outage. Customers in the Partner+ level will receive ongoing performance payments in addition to the enrollment incentive.
Once enrolled, you don't need to reconfigure your battery storage system.
For this incentive level, you must have a Tesla Powerwall. Check back for additional battery manufacturers coming soon!
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 batteries. An inverter converts the battery's DC energy to AC energy your home can use.
The battery is charged using energy from your solar PV system or the electric grid. The battery is discharged to offset energy use during more expensive peak times of the day. This is to reduce your electric bill or for back-up power in the event of an outage.
What is the lifespan of a battery storage system?
Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery systems usually last about 10 years. 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 provide backup power for critical items or your whole home. Be sure to communicate with your contractor about how much, if any, of your battery capacity you want dedicated to backup power.
Is battery storage safe?
Safe installation should follow:
- National Electric Code (NEC)
- SMUD’s Electrical Service Requirements
- Any additional requirements of your local building permitting agency
Follow manufacturer’s care, use and service criteria to ensure safest possible operation.
How long will a battery storage system power my home during an outage?
Without solar, batteries usually provide backup power for about 2-3 hours at their peak rated output. When paired with solar generation, the backup period can be extended. The number of appliances powered during an outage will impact the backup power duration.
What size battery system should I consider for my home?
Your battery installation contractor can help you decide what battery system size is right for you. The typical residential battery storage system installed in SMUD territory is a 5kW / 10kWh unit.
Can I go completely off-grid with a battery storage system?
While it is possible to go completely off-grid with a battery storage system, a modern home is not designed to be disconnected from the grid. A battery storage system is not a generator. It's not realistic to permanently operate off-grid without substantial investment in larger solar and storage systems. Even with solar generation, a storage system would need to be significantly larger to provide enough electricity to power your home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
How can I learn more about battery storage systems?
If you're interested in learning more about battery storage systems, you can attend a SMUD class to get a better grasp of this new technology. Also, we recommend getting 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:
- National Electric Code (NEC)
- Requirements of your local building permitting agency
- 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 are processed through the SMUD PowerClerk portal. This step-by-step web tool will make your interconnection process easy and straight forward. Your contractor will most likely handle the process for you.
Why join My Energy Optimizer program?
Your participation in My Energy Optimizer reduces your household’s environmental footprint and helps our community achieve SMUD’s 2030 Zero Carbon Plan. The program makes it easy to conserve energy when the electricity grid is under stress. The program is also part of our efforts to reduce peak demand, avoid building new power plants and reduce the need to buy electricity from more expensive, less environmentally-friendly sources.
Am I eligible for My Energy Optimizer if I am currently in the process of installing a battery storage system at my residence?
To be eligible for My Energy Optimizer Partner and Partner+, you must own the battery storage unit installed at your home and participate in SMUD’s new Solar and Storage Rate (SSR). Leased battery storage systems only qualify for the Starter level. To confirm your enrollment in the program, email MyEnergyOptimizer@smud.org.
What about back-up power?
Program participants will have full access to the amount of power available in their battery storage system during a power outage. If a customer has 80% of their battery charged, then 80% capacity will be available to back-up the home. For more information, please see the "Do all battery storage systems provide back-up power?" question above.
Do battery storage system installations qualify for other incentives?
Battery systems charged by renewable resources may be eligible for:
- State and federal incentives
- Tax credits (Federal Investment Tax Credit and California Self Generation Incentive Program)
Check with your contractor and tax advisor for more details.
Are multi-family homes eligible for the program?
Multi-family homes (including apartments, condos and duplexes) are eligible for the program; however, please note restrictions about tenants below.
I own the home, but someone else pays the SMUD bill (like an apartment, condo or duplex). Can I sign up for My Energy Optimizer?
The owner can sign up for the Starter level. Individual rental units are ineligible for Partner and Partner+ at this time until SMUD determines a way for owners and their tenants to mutually benefit from the program.
Is the maximum incentive based on the number of batteries I have (i.e., one incentive per battery)?
No. The maximum incentive is for the entire home regardless of number of batteries. For instance, a customer with two 2 kWh batteries would receive the same incentive as a customer with one 4 kWh battery.
Can I upgrade to the Partner or Partner+ incentive if my installer enrolled me in Starter?
Yes, as long as you’re eligible for the Partner or Partner+ level, you may upgrade and receive the difference of the enrollment incentive plus ongoing participation benefits.
Are leased or power purchase agreement (PPA) systems eligible for My Energy Optimizer incentives?
Leased and PPA systems are eligible for the Starter incentive only.
Can I add a battery storage system on an existing solar installation?
Yes, you can add battery storage to existing solar installations. Your battery installation contractor will determine what's necessary to complete a retrofit installation.
Will I be charged an interconnection fee to add battery storage to my existing solar system?
No. You will not be charged an interconnection fee to add battery storage to your existing solar system.
How can I calculate the size of the solar electricity system I would need?
The size of your system should be based upon your electricity usage patterns, not the size of your roof. There are many variables that determine your system’s production, for example slope, orientation and shading. SMUD will allow your system to be sized up to 110% of the last 12-month kWh consumption or up to 120% for customers on the Solar and Storage Rate (SSR) if battery storage is added at the premises. For more information, contact the solar interconnection team.
Can I increase the size of my solar electricity system?
For customers on the Solar and Storage Rate (SSR), SMUD will allow your system to be sized up to 110% of the last 12-month kWh consumption or up to 120% if battery storage is added on the premises. For existing NEM1 legacy customers, if the system size is increased by more than 10% of generating capacity originally approved, or 1 kW, whichever is greater, or exceeds 110% of generating capacity originally approved, you must move to the SSR rate schedule and submit a new Interconnection application.