Looking for a way to offset the cost of buying a battery and help keep Vermont green? Check to see if your utility offers a battery program. Here’s what you need to know.
A battery is the ultimate in peace of mind technology, but that’s not the only benefit. Some Vermont utilities—namely, Green Mountain Power and Vermont Electric Co-op—have Vermont Battery Storage programs that will pay you for some of your stored power and make the grid greener and more resilient for all. Here’s how.
How Does a Utility Battery Program Work?
The point of these programs is to help provide the utility with an extra boost of power when it's needed most. “You have the base load for the grid – which is what the utility typically gets from hydro Quebec or other resources that they have and are always on or always available,” explains Robert Dunn, Project Manager at Green Mountain Solar. “This runs most needs in the state.”
But, some events require extra power, called peak events. What is a peak event? For example, a peak event might happen on a really hot day when everyone turns on their air conditioners. “During these peak events, we need more energy than we normally do for a few hours to as little as just a few moments.”
Typically, the utility meets this extra demand on the grid with peaker plants. “Some of these peaker plants are old, large diesel generators,” he says. “They’re expensive to run, really inefficient, and really dirty for the environment.”
Read More: How to Use Solar Backup Batteries in Vermont
Vermonters who have bought a battery backup can register their system with their utility. Then, during a peak event, instead of turning on the diesel motor, the utility can tap into the stored, clean energy.
It’s a win all around. The battery customer gets paid for the energy they provide during a peak event. It’s head and shoulders better for the environment. And the utility gets a less expensive source of energy—and can pass along those cost savings to all of its customers.
What Vermont Utilities Offer Battery Programs?
Green Mountain Power offers its “bring your own device” (BYOD) program and Vermont Electric Co-op has a Flexible Load program.
What If there’s a Power Outage and a Peak Event?
The utilities use storm watcher software to track bad weather. If there’s a storm on the horizon, they won’t pull from your battery and you won’t be left in the dark.
Want to get more details on how these programs work? Our solar advisors would love to talk with you. Contact us today!
By Julia Westbrook