Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is piloting a home battery energy storage program to support the vulnerable customers in its service area that are most frequently impacted by outages caused by its Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings (EPSS). Since October, PG&E has reached out to approximately 1,000 pre-qualified customers for this Residential Storage Initiative, and 100 of these homes will receive a no-cost battery system installation.
These enhanced powerline safety settings are meant to quick trigger powerline shutoffs within one-tenth of a second when a fault, such as a tree limb contacting a powerline, is detected. The goal is to protect millions of Californians who live in high fire-risk areas. PG&E reports a 65% reduction in ignitions in EPSS areas.
But safety-related outages are still outages, and 100 homes is not very many considering the scope of the problem. Though, PG&E does “anticipate expanding installations to several hundred new systems in 2023.”
PG&E is working with Enphase as the battery provider (the IQ Battery) and Richard Heath & Associates Inc. (RHA) as the contracted installer on this initiative. Approximately 20 new home battery systems have already been installed
“We know power outages can be hard on our customers and even more challenging for vulnerable populations. We expect this initiative in collaboration with Enphase will help build resilience, enhance reliability, and make life a little easier for our customers when the power is turned off for safety,” said Aaron August, Vice President, Utility Partnerships & Innovation, PG&E.
Eligible customers live in El Dorado, Napa, and Nevada counties; are enrolled in the California Alternate Rates for Energy program; do not already have a fixed power solution (such as a battery or permanently installed generator); and have experienced the most frequent safety-related outages.
“The Enphase IQ Battery offers customers reliable home energy technology, and we look forward to our continued partnership with PG&E to provide additional support for enhanced grid security solutions,” said Dave Ranhoff, Chief Commercial Officer at Enphase Energy.
— Solar Builder magazine