California’s proposed million-home-battery initiative

May 28, 2020 | 3min read

In 2006, then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made a bold proposition. He wanted to put solar panels on one million Californian rooftops. In 2015, governor Schwarzenegger’s vision became a reality. Over one million California homes have solar panels installed. Now, former state senator Fran Pavley, currently the director of the Schwarzenegger Institute, wants to update governor Schwarzenegger’s vision with a new initiative, the million home battery initiative. Given the uncertainty of grid reliability due to wildfire, the million home battery initiative makes a lot of sense.

9 Gigawatts of solar power and growing

The goal of the Million Solar Roofs initiative was to build 3 gigawatts of solar power on California rooftops. Today California has nearly 9 gigawatts of home solar power. That 9 gigawatts of power generates more than 13 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. This reduces California’s carbon footprint by 22 million tons of CO2, 16,000 tons of smog-forming pollutants, and has helped countless numbers of Californians get control of their utility bills. Solar power also provides more than 77,000 jobs in the state.

The proposed million home battery initiative

The initiative calls for the installation of one million home batteries by 2028. It is an ambitious goal, and California is well-positioned to achieve it. California offers the Self-Generation Incentive Program. The program pays a cash incentive of up to $250 per kilowatt-hour of installed battery capacity. A bold vision like the million home battery initiative would be a big step towards reaching California’s goal of running on 100% renewable energy.

Blackouts and high time of use charges 

There are more benefits to batteries than just the obvious environmental benefits of using batteries to store power. During wildfire season, California’s electrical grid becomes unreliable due to public safety power shutdowns. These blackouts lasted for several days at a time in 2019, leaving millions of people without power. Home batteries can provide power to a home during an extended blackout period since the batteries get recharged when the sun is shining. All a homeowner needs to do is manage their power wisely at night so they make it to the next day.

High time-of-use charges

As of the time of writing, all three of California’s largest utility companies charge their peak rates from 4 PM to 9 PM in the evening. Home batteries can power the home during those peak rate hours and spare homeowners from paying those high rates. Ultimately, should California launch a million home battery initiative, it will be utility company customers who will benefit the most.

Freedom Forever has home batteries

Freedom carries the Telsa Power Wall. The Power Wall can be configured to provide as much power as you need. If you want enough power to provide a power backup for your entire home, the Power Wall can do it. You may even be eligible to have your batteries installed for free or nearly free. Home batteries are eligible for the federal tax credit, even if you’ve already claimed the credit for your home solar. With the uncertainty of grid reliability during wildfire season and high evening time-of-use rates, batteries make a tremendous amount of sense in California. The million battery initiative is an idea whose time has come.

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