Battery storage is here

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

Customers are looking for ways to consume more of the solar energy they're producing. Battery storage lets customers access backup power and shifts solar generation to peak periods.

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 can power critical appliances like your refrigerator.

Bill savings

A battery storage system lets you store excess solar energy generated during the day. You can use this excess energy during peak hours, when electricity is most expensive. This reduces the typical customer’s electric bill, but doesn't factor in the cost of leasing or purchasing the battery. Learn more about our Time-of-Day rates.

Environmental impacts

By shifting your excess solar generation to peak periods, you're reducing your carbon emissions and the demand on the electric grid.

Start your estimate

If you're considering battery storage, use our solar system estimator, which includes a battery storage option, to help you determine the benefits of installing battery storage. Let us serve as your trusted advisor to help you make the choice that's right for you.

You'll see the option to add battery storage on the summary page. You'll need to go through the solar estimation process to get to the summary page.

See if you'll save

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.  

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.

Can I install battery storage systems without installing a solar system?

Yes, but your battery storage will not qualify for Net Energy Metering (NEM). This means you won't be compensated for exporting stored energy to the grid.

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.

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 a battery storage system are usually less than the cost of the battery storage system.

A typical residential battery storage system charging at the lowest price to offset loads at the highest price time period could save a customer between $200-$350 per year on their SMUD bill. Even with these savings, the annual savings would most likely not recover the upfront system costs.

Even a battery operating in this mode (peak shaving) for its 10-year expected life could save a customer up to $4,000, which still would only cover approximately 50% of the total system cost.

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, please 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.

Am I eligible for the commitment to operate incentive if I am currently in the process of installing a battery storage system at my residence?
You are eligible for the commitment to operate incentive once the installation process is complete. To confirm your enrollment into the program, please email energystorage@smud.org.

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.

Battery Storage Program

We're currently offering qualified residential battery storage customers a $300 incentive. 

To receive the incentive, you need to commit to operate your battery system in a way that reduces your electricity costs and contributes to a better environment. Your battery is most likely already operating in this mode.

By participating, you may also 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

Your battery storage installer can apply for the program incentive during the interconnection application process. To learn more, email energystorage@smud.org.

 

Commitment to operate 

Solar PC + 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.