May 24th, 2016 by Joshua S Hill
A new report shows how the combination of solar and storage could save residents of multifamily affordable rental housing thousands on electricity bills.
According to the authors of Closing the California Clean Energy Divide, which explores how battery storage technology combined with residential solar PV could provide greater control to system owners, “significant electric bill savings” could be in the offing to both property owners and residents of multifamily affordable rental housing in California. The authors also highlighted the increased potential in light of the recently enacted Assembly Bill 693, which established California’s Multifamily Affordable Housing Solar Roofs Program, including provision of up to $1 billion in cap-and-trade funding over 10 years to create incentives for installing solar PV.
The report, authored by the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), California Housing Partnership, and the Clean Energy Group, reached several conclusions:
- Adding battery storage to an affordable rental housing solar installation in California can eliminate demand charges for building electricity loads, resulting in a net electricity bill of essentially zero
- Adding battery storage to California affordable rental housing can almost double the building electricity bill savings achieved over the savings realized through solar alone
- Adding battery storage can achieve incremental utility bill savings similar to solar for about a third of the cost of the solar system for owners of affordable rental housing properties in California
- Solar+storage projects result in a significantly shorter payback period than stand-alone solar projects
Specifically, the report found that affordable multifamily housing property owners in two specific territories — Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric — could increase savings by nearly 100% simply by adding storage to solar installations.
“Our analysis, which is based on data from real buildings, shows that adding battery storage to a solar PV system installed on an affordable housing property in Southern California could increase the annual savings on a property owner’s electricity bill to 99 percent, which is nearly double the savings of what a solar-alone system can provide,”said Seth Mullendore, a program manager at Clean Energy Group.
“California has invested heavily to ensure qualified low-income properties have had equal access to our growing solar market,” added Sachu Constantine, CSE director of policy. “But recent changes to the critical underlying rates and tariffs may compromise the value proposition of solar for affordable housing residents and owners unless we find a way to include the combination of energy storage and solar in the Solar Roofs program.”