The Energy Storage Report 2024

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Connecticut regulators more than double incentive cap for residential battery scheme

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Up to US$16,000 in upfront incentives are available per customer for residential battery purchases in Connecticut after changes were made to a utility scheme in the US state.

Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), announced updates a few days ago to Energy Storage Solutions, a programme which provides incentives for customers to install battery storage. Among the changes was a more than doubling of the maximum amount available per customer from US$7,500.

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Energy Storage Solutions opened for applications in early 2022 through the two main investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in Connecticut, Eversource and United Illuminating (UI), overseen by PURA. Both residential and commercial customers of the IOUs are eligible to participate in the scheme, financed by Connecticut’s ratepayers.

It had been established by the regulator the previous year and is aimed at driving the deployment of 580MW of customer-sited energy storage in the state by 2030.   

If successful, it should mean that Connecticut gets behind-the-meter energy storage resources to help integrate growing shares of renewable energy and stabilise the grid, alongside front-of-the-meter utility-scale storage as the state moves towards its targeted date of 2040 to achieve carbon neutrality – and a 1,000MW by 2030 energy storage deployment target.

Other changes include an increase in the upfront incentive for qualifying low income customers, from US$400 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) previously to US$600/kWh, while residents in underserved communities are now eligible for US$450/kWh incentives, up from US$300/kWh previously.

Customers in multi-family affordable housing are now eligible for the low income rate, which they were not before. Programme administrators said this could unlock opportunities for landlords to install batteries for rented accommodation.

PURA asked the state’s Green Bank (the only one of its kind in the country) to convene a working group to look at and tackle the issue of battery and solar PV waste and recycling.

The last time Energy-Storage.news covered the Energy Storage Solutions programme, it was when the second tranche of funding for commercial customers opened in March last year. Energy Storage Solutions Commercial Tranche 2, which made funding available for 100MW of purchases by commercial and industrial (C&I) customers, opened two years ahead of schedule after 50MW offered in the first tranche was quickly accounted for.

PURA said last week that 70MW of Tranche 2 remains. Due to the strong demand experienced to date, PURA has decided that project approvals for C&I customers will be paused on 15 June 2024, or earlier if the full 100MW tranche becomes subscribed, until a PURA decision is made in its Year Four Decision in Docket 24-08-05. The decisions just announced were part of the preceding Year Three Decision in Docket No. 23-08-05.

PURA noted in a release that programme incentives can be stacked with tax credit incentives including those introduced with the Inflation Reduction Act.

Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 6th Energy Storage Summit USA, 19-20 March 2024 in Austin, Texas. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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