San Diego Energy Storage

Batteries empower homeowners to manage electricity in a way never before possible.

Welcome to an entirely new way to think about energy.

Lower your bill:

Similar to solar, energy storage empowers homeowners to manage their energy in a way that avoids expensive monthly utility bills. The way your utility charges for electricity can seem convoluted and confusing, with terms like tiers, time-of-use, and demand charges. Home battery systems are smart enough to navigate all of this for you so that you can just relax and decide what to do with your savings at the end of each month.

Energy independence:

Ever dreamed of being autonomous and disconnecting? Would you like the comfort and security of knowing you are completely energy self-sufficient? While powering your house during the day, your solar panels can also charge your energy storage batteries for use during the night – no utility power is required. In the event of a blackout or worse, you and your family would continue to be safe and comfortable at home.

An uncertain future:

With the skyrocketing cost of energy, do you know how much you will be paying for electricity in 5, 10, or even 20 years from now? What if your electricity bill doubles or triples after you’ve retired? Are you putting enough money in your child’s college fund? While there are many uncertain factors in your financial future, the cost of electricity doesn’t have to be one of them.

two women looking at a solar proposal on a computer

What does a battery mean to me?

Home batteries shift energy control from the utility to the homeowner.  This means being empowered to manage energy in a way that saves you money each and every month.  It can also keep your family safe and comfortable during a blackout, or even take you off-grid completely.

Can energy storage be used to provide power during blackouts?

The answer is a resounding Yes! Blackouts can put the comfort and safety of you and your family at risk. If you have lived through a blackout, you know the disruption it can cause. From not being able to charge your phone or the expense of losing all the food in your fridge, to the safety concerns of your neighborhood going dark.

Energy storage can not only lower your bill every month, it can keep you powered during a blackout. When selecting the right battery for your needs, it is important to consider how much backup electricity you want on hand; from several hours to several days, to a completely self-sufficient off-grid system.

power plant producing smoke

Can I build an off-grid system?

Want to unplug from the electrical power grid and see what total energy independence feels like? We can get you there. Generate power using your solar energy panels by day, store some of it away in your battery for the night. Imagine walking away from the world’s energy problems, shielding yourself from rate increases and policy changes, and becoming 100% energy self-sufficient. The comfort of knowing your energy is secure, no matter what happens beyond your property line, is worth its weight in gold.

How big is an energy storage system?

 

About the size of a laundry basket, depending on your needs.  Some sit on the ground, some are wide and flat and mounted on a wall.  They are generally installed in a garage or outside where they can be protected from the elements or extreme temperatures.  They are safe, quiet and aesthetically unobtrusive, sometimes without visible wires either coming in or going out.

 

How long do batteries last?

Most batteries are warrantied to last between 10 and 20 years but can continue to operate and save you money for many years after.

Many variables contribute the lifespan of an energy storage battery. A battery used infrequently, such as for backup power, or part of an overall backup power generator system, will outlast a battery cycled every day. The frequency in which a battery is used, and the depth in which it is discharged, are the leading factors in battery life. After the warranty, the average battery will have reached the end of its product life. A battery is considered to be at the end of its product life when its capacity has diminished to 80% of what it was originally rated for. This does not mean, however, that the battery ceases to operate, only that it is no longer under warranty. There is very little data available on the actual length of time before an energy storage battery’s capacity has diminished to point it is no longer useful, but it is generally well beyond 10 or 20-year warranty.

Are rebates or incentives available?

Yes, battery owners can be eligible for a significant Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) rebate that can greatly offset the cost of an energy storage system. The SGIP website should be consulted for further information on how to quality and apply. This rebate is available for a limited time.  The SGIP program is actually administered from right here in San Diego.

Are tax credits available?

Now is the best time to get tax credits for batteries!

The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is available for energy storage devices. The ITC, as it applies to energy storage, is currently going through changes to make it even more beneficial to energy storage owners. A bill was introduced to the House Committee on Ways and Means in March of 2016 meant to greatly broaden the availability of the ITC for battery projects. In the meantime, there is existing policy allowing the ITC to be applied to energy storage. Home and commercial business owners should consult their tax professional on how to best take advantage of the ITC.

How cheap is energy storage?

How much does it cost?

Energy storage systems generally cost much less than solar power systems. Many people choose to install energy storage along with their new solar system, accelerating the payback time on both and maximizing your savings.

Determining energy storage system pricing is complex and involves many factors. It depends on your individual needs and how you plan to use the battery. A small battery used exclusively to avoid using utility power for a few hours a day will be less expensive than a larger battery used to provide several days of emergency backup power.

How much money can I save with energy storage?

There are multiple scenarios where an energy storage device can save money for San Diego home and business owners, but it depends on your individual situation, including how your utility charges for electricity. In all scenarios, solar offers a significant and additional financial advantage when paired with energy storage.

Demand metering: Demand metering is a method California's investor-owned utilities use to charge for electricity thus far existing only for commercial customers, however, residential customers in SDG&E will begin to see it in the coming years.  It is already in use in areas outside of San Diego. Demand metering is a difficult concept to explain, it is a pricing model where the customer is not only charged for the volume of energy they use but also how rapidly they consume it. For example, if you charge an electric car at your house, it will pull a high volume of energy from the utility, thus incurring a volume cost. Because you want your car to charge quickly, your charger will pull that high-volume of energy from the utility in a very short period of time (a spike), thus incurring a demand cost as well. When demand metering comes to residential customers in the future, energy storage devices in people’s homes will be smart enough to discharge their own electricity during these spikes, instead of the utility’s electricity, thus avoiding a demand charge.

Time-of-Use: Also known as TOU, is pricing model currently available to residential SDG&E customers on a voluntary basis, but it is important to know that all solar Net Metering 2.0 customers will be forced into TOU billing in the coming years. Under TOU, the customer gets charged a different price for electricity depending on the time of day. For example, 1 kWh might cost 52 cents at 5 pm but only 37 cents at 6 am. This creates an opportunity for cost savings using energy storage; a smart battery would know to charge itself at 6 am when electricity is cheap, then use that cheap electricity later in the day when utility power is most expensive.

Arbitrage: Arbitrage, or TOU arbitrage, is similar to above in that the battery is charged when utility electricity is at its cheapest, but instead of the owner using the energy later, it is sold back to the utility for a greater price than it was purchased. Using the pricing example above, a battery could be filled with 37 per kWh energy at 6 am, then sold back to the utility at 5 pm at a 15 cent per kWh profit. In theory, a battery could be used for nothing more than a daily cycle of buying cheap and selling high, thus offsetting the owner’s electricity bill.

Self-consumption: In the scenarios above, an energy storage, or solar plus storage, the system is built on the framework of a specific rate structure. The system owner relies on this framework remaining in place until they achieve a return on their investment, usually 5 or more years. Rate design changes from time to time, so do the owner’s usage patterns, exposing the system owner to risk. Or perhaps their rate structure offered no cost saving opportunity in the first place. In these situations, the home (or business) owner may choose self-consumption, meaning the energy they generate and store in their battery is exclusively for their own use and never exported to the California power grid. This shields the owner from policy and rate design changes that can have negative effects on the economics of their system.

Protection against an uncertain future

Utility rate increases you have no control over?  Energy shortages?  Rolling blackouts?  Grid failure?  Worse?

The world looks much different when generating and storing your own energy.  Protect your family and finances from an uncertain future.

What is energy storage?

Energy storage is a generic term for a situation where energy is saved for later. From the ancient energy stored in fossil fuels to the water behind a hydroelectric dam. The current evolution in energy storage technology is around chemical batteries such as lithium ion.

Battery technology is being developed as a way to enable the widespread use of renewable energy. Consider that solar power can only be generated when the sun is shining, wind power only when the wind is blowing, etc. This creates gaps in which utilities, such as SDG&E, must fill with non-renewable sources in order to deliver a steady stream of energy to its customers. Utilities are beginning to experiment with using batteries to fill these gaps.

On a smaller scale, home and business owners are beginning to use energy storage to manage their energy, usually with the goal of lowering their electricity bill. For example, a business with solar panels operates from 6 am to 6 pm. The business’s energy needs are met using solar panels in the middle of the day but must rely on the utility’s power the first few hours of the morning and last few of the evening when the sun is not shining. During these non-solar hours, the business is exposed to expensive demand charges if their electrical use spikes or the cost of electricity increases due to the time of day. Batteries can protect the business during these exposed ‘shoulder’ hours. Energy storage, especially when paired with solar, gives home and business owners much greater control over the cost of electricity.

What are batteries made of?

Technically speaking, an energy storage battery can be anything from a block of ice to a spinning flywheel, but for our purposes we will narrow the field to chemical batteries.  For the foreseeable future, Baker Electric Solar’s batteries will be composed of lithium ion (or similar).  Lithium ion batteries have been in use since the 1970s and are desired for their ability to store a high amount of energy in relation to their mass, making them excellent where space is limited such as phones, homes and businesses.

How much experience does Baker have in energy storage?

There are several energy storage market opportunities that affect different divisions of the company; utility-scale, commercial and industrial (C&I), and residential.

Utility-scale: Baker Electric has been involved in many utility-scale solar projects and is positioned well to become a leader in utility-scale energy storage as well. Baker Electric is currently working on a 20mW Tesla Energy project in Aliso Viejo, the largest lithium-ion energy storage project in the world.

Commercial and Industrial: Baker Electric and the commercial division of Baker Electric Solar have several energy storage installations under its belt, such as the NEC Energy Solutions 2.5mWh battery in Orange County, and Baker’s very own battery system at its headquarters in Escondido. The commercial team is currently working on an energy storage project at Kohl’s, and you can expect much more in the coming months.

Residential: Innovations and scale have brought battery prices down within the reach of homeowners, and solar owners especially are taking notice. Baker Electric Solar is currently exploring different battery vendors looking for the best product to match its own standards of quality along with the needs of its customers. Even though Baker Electric Solar is exploring vendors, it is open for business and does offer products for anyone interested in residential energy storage.

off grid energy storage

Can I convert my grid-tied home to off-grid?

Most energy storage systems are designed for grid-connected homes. They provide a way for home and business owners to take control of their energy and lower their bill. However, there is nothing stopping you from building a solar and storage system that eliminates the need to use any power from the utility.

A grid-connected yet self-sufficient solar plus storage system is the best of both worlds; generate and store your own energy, but have grid power available for use during times of maintenance or upgrades to your solar or storage systems.

How to determine the cost of an energy storage system?

The cost of energy storage is measured in two ways and it is important to understand the difference.

Battery cost per kilowatt hour (kWh): Cost per kWh gets a lot of media coverage, Tesla, and other battery manufacturers are in a race to see who can build batteries the cheapest and take the greatest market share as a result. Costs range from $150 to $1,000 per kWh hour currently; $100 per kWh is the arbitrary goal in which, theoretically, batteries will be cheap enough for mass adoption. Battery cost per kWh does not take certain important financial factors into consideration, however, such as installation cost, maintenance, or the number of cycles until the battery is out of warranty or no longer operational. For example, Tesla was selling its 10kWh Powerwall for $3,500 ($350 per kWh), but the true cost to the homeowner with installation is significantly higher.  As with most technology, energy storage technology will rapidly decrease in cost over a short period of time.

Installed cost per kWh: This measure is much more valuable to the home or business owner. This is the final price to the owner after the battery, peripheral components (such as an inverter), installation, and all other costs are factored in.  The average residential energy storage system costs less than solar.