Energy Storage

Tesla signs on to utility’s peak shaving program

National Grid recently signed Tesla on to programs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island that use batteries to reduce the utility’s peak loads.

Other vendors, including Pika, SolarEdge, Sonnen and Sunrun, were already participating in the program, which began this spring.

The program is open to residential customers with battery backup systems and solar systems paired with battery storage.

Falling battery costs and declining net metering incentives have resulted in a rise in pairing the two technologies. In addition, there are several financial incentives available for pairing batteries with solar systems, including the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit and the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program.

A February report from consulting firm Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables projected that 50% of annual storage deployments in the United States will be paired with solar power by 2023.

Under the program, National Grid calls on resources enrolled in the programs to reduce peak demand. When the batteries are called on to reduce peak demand, they are called at the same time, acting as a kind of virtual power plant.

In Rhode Island, National Grid intends to use the battery incentive program to shave summer peaks. In Massachusetts, the utility intends to use the program to shave summer peaks, as well as some winter peaks.

The Rhode Island program is ongoing. In Massachusetts, it is a one year demonstration program that could conclude at year end, though the utility hopes to keep it going “with additional approval,” National Grid spokesman Ted Kresse said.

Both programs required state regulatory approval.

The homeowners with batteries receive the incentive payments through their battery vendors at the end of each season. Each vendor manages each customer’s storage system. National Grid monitors the state of charge of the battery systems, sends dispatch signals, and receives performance data back from the batteries.

The utility hopes to enroll 230 batteries in the program in Massachusetts and 50 in Rhode Island.

At this point, the program is only open to residential customers who already have installed battery systems, Kresse said.

The battery incentives are part of National Grid’s wider ConnectedSolutions demand reduction program.