The project design could help GRID connect 50 low-income families with solar+storage in IID this year, and if replicated, could ensure that new PV customers in other utility territories reap solar benefits, even after net metering caps. IID is the third largest public power provider in California.
Since IID reached its 5% mandate cap, it has begun moving new PV customers into a “Net Billing” program that includes guaranteed grid interconnection fees paid to the utility, unlike the net metering program, in which some PV net generators avoided the fees. The new net billing program also sets a changeable rate for electricty that the utility pays to new net PV generators, currently set at the lowest PPA price that the utility pays for solar electricity, or about 6.98 cents per kW, according to IID documents.
IID is no stranger to storage. In October 2016, the Imperial Irrigation District and Coachella Energy Storage Partners began operating a 30MW/20MWh lithium-ion battery storage system, at the El Centro generating station. The project was designed to help the grid accommodate power from two large-scale solar projects, Midway III and SunPeak 2.
“As solar capacity, power purchase agreements and distributed generation rise in our electric system, this new battery energy storage system will help smooth variable generation and increase system-wide reliability. The system will provide a much faster, environmentally friendly alternative than traditional generation,” said IID Board of Directors President Stephen Benson, at startup.
Ziad Alaywan, CEO of ZGlobal, added that “It is one of the largest battery storage systems in the West.” General Electric provided Coachella Energy Storage Partners with an integrated storage solution that is one of GE’s largest energy storage projects to date. The project uses lithium ion batteries manufactured by Samsung SDI America.