East Bay Community Energy, Sunrun to install battery backup systems for Bay Area residents

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East Bay Community Energy and Sunrun are collaborating on Resilient Home, a project that installs battery backup systems in residential homes and allows residents to save money on their energy bills.

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East Bay Community Energy, or EBCE, and Sunrun are collaborating on a project to bring energy to residents affected by PG&E power shut-offs.

The project, called Resilient Home, is a program that installs residential home battery backup systems that will operate as generators in the event of outages, thereby allowing residents to fulfill their energy needs.

With the Resilient Home program, residents will be able to prepare their homes for power outages due to extreme weather or other unpredictable events. Additionally, Resilient Home allows residents to save money on their energy bills, according to Michael Norbeck, director of Grid Services Business Development at Sunrun.

The program emerged in response to the 2019 PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff, which left 30,000 EBCE customers in Alameda County without power. EBCE decided to partner with Sunrun for the creation of Resilient Home due to Sunrun’s experience with solar power and battery storage systems, its pricing and its ties to the Bay Area, according to a press release from EBCE.

According to the press release, Resilient Home customers will be able to charge their battery backup systems with the energy from the power grid or with their home solar power systems.

Resilient Home homeowners will have the option to share power stored in their batteries with EBCE during periods of high energy demand for a $1,000 compensation. Customers can also use California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program to reduce the cost of installing the battery backup system.

The cost of the system for residents will depend on home characteristics such as energy usage, roof size and roof type.

“The customer says, ‘This is how I’m paying,’ then we size how to reduce their energy price and look at how big their roof is,” Norbeck said. “A power purchasing agreement or a lease? What does the customer want? Does the customer want a flat rate? Do they want to pay more upfront or pay more later? Want to finance via loan or cash? Do they want constant maintenance?”

EBCE and Sunrun plan to install more than 1,000 home batteries in the Bay Area over the next six months, with at least 20% in disadvantaged and low-income communities.

The partnership agreement between Sunrun and EBCE was signed three weeks ago and the program has already begun taking customer inquiries. It will continue running into 2022.

“We wanted to give our customers the opportunity to make their homes resilient during PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs, which are expected to continue for the next 10 years,” said JP Ross, EBCE senior director of local development, electrification and innovation, in an email. “We also want to develop ways for (community choice aggregators)’s and utilities to proactively develop and utilize the increasing amounts of solar and batteries in the grid to reduce procurement obligations for all our customers.”

Contact Blake Evans at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Blake_J_Evans.