Skip to main content
Home » All » Modeling Grid Services programs in Solargraf

The movement toward clean energy has accelerated in the last decade, and the demand continues to grow. Consumers are increasingly mindful of the environmental impact of their choices, opting for more sustainable options to reduce their carbon footprint. As a result, more households are choosing solar energy to power their homes. Although solar energy offsets grid dependency during the day, it falls short in the evening and overnight when energy demand is at its peak. Due to this, solar panels coupled with energy storage systems gained significance. However, energy storage systems are expensive, negatively impacting the system’s payback period. Policymakers have introduced various battery incentives to make battery systems more attractive to the customer and encourage adoption.

Energy storage systems can offset energy consumption during peak demand hours, allowing customers to export excess energy to the grid. This promotes grid stability during peak demand hours and gives customers more returns for their exported energy. As a result, various utility companies have launched grid-service programs. Under these programs, utility companies monetarily reward customers for exporting energy during a Grid Services event.

Solargraf users can now model the benefits of these five Grid Services programs:

  • PG&E Emergency Load Reduction Program (ELRP)
  • SDG&E/SCE Demand Side Grid Support (DSGS)
  • Massachusetts ConnectedSolutions Battery Demand Response Program
  • Rhode Island ConnectedSolutions Battery Demand Response Program
  • Connecticut Energy Storage Solutions (CT-ESS)

Let’s explore the applicability, benefits, and how to model these five programs in Solargraf.

Applicability

The above programs require a system with an energy storage device such as a battery. Additionally, these programs only apply to residential projects; commercial projects do not qualify.

Residential customers can enroll their energy storage systems only in programs offered by their utility company. The utility company will import energy from enrolled battery systems during a Grid Services event to meet the energy demand. At the end of the year, the utility company will compensate customers based on their participation.

Benefits

Different utility companies have modeled their programs using various parameters. While some programs reward customers based on the enrolled capacity, others reward customers for average delivered power during an event.

Specific program benefits are detailed below:

ELRP
Customer compensation under ELRP depends on a range of factors. These include the number and duration of program events, the number of events the customer participated in, and PG&E’s evaluation of the battery system’s contributions to load reduction. Participants can expect to earn between $100 and $250 per year, though the amount each customer earns may differ. Additionally, PG&E may impose threshold limits on the minimum amount it will pay per customer. For example, customers earning a minimal dollar amount may not receive a payout from PG&E. PG&E will determine the lower incentives limit at the end of each event season.

DSGS
Customers interconnected under the Southern California Edison (SCE) or San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) NEM (Net Energy Metering) 1.0 or NEM 2.0 tariff can discharge their battery to reduce the onsite load but not export to the grid. Therefore, they can expect to earn approx. $150-200/year or more for discharging their battery as part of DSGS.

Customers interconnected under the SCE or SDG&E Net Billing Tariff (NBT or NEM 3.0) may, in some cases, be allowed to export to the grid (if the battery is charged only from onsite solar). In such cases, customers can expect to earn approx. $150-450/year or more for discharging their battery as part of DSGS. If a NEM 3.0 / NBT battery system is not approved for grid export, the above NEM 1.0 / NEM 2.0 compensation framework will apply.

ConnectedSolutions (Massachusetts and Rhode Island)
Customers interconnected under ConnectedSolutions will be compensated based on the battery system’s average power during Grid Services events. The average delivered power for a battery system depends on the battery capacity, battery SOC (State of Charge), and the rated output power of the battery.

CT-ESS
Under this program, customers are compensated both on enrolled battery capacity and the average power delivered by the battery during grid services events. The program’s upfront benefit depends on the enrolled battery capacity and is calculated by multiplying the enrolled capacity with the upfront rate ($/kWh). The upfront rate should be set based on the customer and the project type. The upfront rates for this program are:

  • Standard: $250/kWh ($375/kWh for Grid Edge customers)
  • Disadvantaged communities: $450/kWh ($675/kWh for Grid Edge customers)
  • Low income: $600/kWh ($900/kWh for Grid Edge customers)

The program’s annual benefit depends on the average power the battery system delivers during Grid Services events, which is calculated by multiplying the average delivered power during Grid Services events by the annual rate. Annual rates (combined summer and winter performance) for this program are:

  • Years 1-5: $225/kW per year
  • Years 6-10: $130/kW per year

The upfront amount is capped at a minimum of $16,000 or 50% of the cost of the installed battery system. There is no cap on the annual amount.

Modeling in Solargraf

To model a program’s financial impact on your project in Solargraf, follow these steps:

  1. Access the Manage incentives page in the Option settings.
  2. Locate the programs under Available incentives and enable the desired program(s).
  3. Solargraf will automatically calculate and model the benefits upon enabling a program based on your project’s parameters.

Please keep in mind that while Solargraf ensures programs are available based on the project’s state, there is no automated validation for utility companies to retain independence. Therefore, you must manually enable the program to model the benefits.

For example, for a project in California, both ELRP and DSGS programs will be available under Available incentives. Depending on your utility company (PG&E, SCE, or SDG&E), enable either ELRP or DSGS.

Once enabled, you will view the program benefits in the proposal. The pricing table illustrates the upfront benefits to offset system costs, while annual benefits are detailed in pricing and savings breakdown tables. These benefits positively affect your project’s financial metrics, impacting savings, ROI, and payback period calculations.

Discover the advantages of incorporating Grid Services programs into your proposals with Solargraf. Our dedicated team of experts is ready to assist you with our current selection programs, and we are adding more programs soon. Please contact us at (888) 997-1101 or [email protected] if you have any inquiries or need guidance.

Schedule a demo with our experts to learn how Solargraf can revolutionize your solar business.

Book a Demo Register for an upcoming webinar