Know your Solar Battery Incentives
Throughout the country, federal, state, and local incentives and tax credits have been playing a pivotal role in the development of solar energy. At the time of this writing, there are 2 million residential solar, commercial solar, and utility-scale solar installations across the country. The installations sum up to a total output of 70 gigawatts and provide enough energy to power more than 12 million homes. Furthermore, by 2024, 2.5% of American households will have a solar installation.
Apart from Investment tax credit (ITC), various states have been trying to support and promote the use of clean energy through different schemes and policies. When it comes to solar energy, incentivization programs that establish a symbiotic relationship between solar energy producers and local utilities offer many benefits. Here, you will go through some of the state-specific incentives on ‘solar batteries.’
California: Self-generation Incentive Program (SGIP)
SGIP is an incentivization program that falls under the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which regulates privately owned utilities in the state. The program provides incentives on distributed energy resources to businesses and homeowners. It is different from the Net Metering credit system that pays for the difference between the power that you generate and the amount you use.
SGIP provides incentives to the battery storage and not the entire photovoltaic system. The significant involvement of private utility companies means that incentive budgets differ from one service to another. Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG & E), Southern California Edison (SCE), Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), and Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) regulate independent budgets on battery storage incentivization.
However, there a separate incentivization budget, known as the Equity Budget, is available for low-income households and disadvantaged communities. It allocates 25% of the total energy storage program budget to the low-income and underprivileged communities.
As this program goes along with the utility companies, one must keep track of the incentive budgets to ripe the benefits from SGIP.
New Hampshire: Connected Solutions and Storage Pilot Programs
The utility companies are beginning to rely on the home solar outputs during the times of peak demand. Two private utility companies in New Hampshire that provide incentives for battery storage are EverSource and Liberty Utilities. There are specific differences in the incentivization programs of the two companies.
Eversource’s connected solutions program pays an incentive when you allow the utility to access and use the electricity stored in the home solar battery. For summer events (such as power outages, blackouts, and increased consumption), solar owners can receive an incentive of $225 per kWh. Starting from June 1 to September 30, the state witnesses about 30-60 events that last for about 30 minutes. Since a typical home solar battery can provide an average of 5kWh per event, one could earn up to $1,125 for the summer season.
Liberty Utilities provides incentives under its Battery Storage Pilot Program. The incentives allocated in this program allow homeowners to lease or buy Tesla solar batteries. This Pilot Program does not require a homeowner to have a solar installation. Any homeowner who can provide backup during peak hours can be a part of the incentivization program.
Massachusetts: Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target Program (SMART)
SMART is a useful program that allows homeowners from Massachusetts to enjoy incentives on solar battery power for ten years after the enrollment. The participants receive credit for every kWh of solar energy from the PV system.
The program allows homeowners to receive actual money in exchange for the credits they earn. The incentives are regardless of whether or not a homeowner feeds the electricity to the grid. In this manner, SMART is different from the Net Metering credits that pay you for the difference between what you use and what you generate.
For cashing, participants must go to the market and find an exchange (like SERCTrade) to receive a set amount by trading the credits. As it is a market, the prices of credits keep on fluctuating. However, you can figure out the exact rates by following this spreadsheet.
The money that one receives in exchange for the credits will differ with a change in the utility company. Given below is the base compensation of five utility companies in Massachusetts:
- Fitchburg Gas & Electric: $0.31126
- Massachusetts Electric: $0.31126
- Nantucket Electric: $0.34
- NSTAR: $0.34
- WMECO: $0.28576
There are several criteria that a home solar battery must fulfill before becoming eligible for the incentive program. The areas of concern are output capacity, storage capacity, minimum efficiency, Operational Data, and Usage requirements of the storage system. Read more about it on the SMART website.
Distributed Solar is the Future
Having a distributed system can be a help during the planned blackouts. Installing a home solar system for emergency backup, or increasing the value of your home makes complete sense. The combinations of Federal, state, and local incentive and rebate programs make it easier than ever to install and access the advantages of a home PV system. The rising need for sustainable consumption of energy is one of the primary reasons why you must adopt solar power. Also, there are plenty of other incentive programs available in various states. If you wish to learn about them, keep a track of our blogs.