If you’re a homeowner in CT, you’re probably very familiar with the state’s harsh winters: frequent nor’easters have many people across New England looking for ways to keep their homes up and running during powerful storms. Fortunately, solar batteries can do just that: thanks to declining costs, federal tax credits, and–for customers of Eversource–utility incentives, solar batteries are more affordable than ever before. Here’s a quick summary of the battery incentives currently available in Connecticut:
Eversource’s ConnectedSolutions program
Are you a customer of Eversource? This utility company offers incentives for their CT customers installing a battery under the ConnectedSolutions program.
The ConnectedSolutions program is a demand response program that pays you an annual incentive in exchange for allowing your utility company to access and use the electricity stored in your battery during times of peak demand.
For example, let’s say that temperatures around Hartford are especially hot, and demand for electricity is higher than usual because everyone’s using their air conditioners. On days like this, Eversource may have to turn on “peaker plants” (or temporary power plants) to meet their customers’ electricity needs. Turning on these plants is expensive (and has an outsized, adverse impact on the environment), and these costs are ultimately passed down to end customers like you.
However, the ConnectedSolutions program helps Eversource curtail their costs during times like these: essentially, Eversource will have the ability to access and distribute electricity from your charged battery when overall demand for electricity is particularly high. They can then use that electricity to curb their need for peaker plant generation, helping them to save money and allowing you to reap the benefits of the ConnectedSolutions incentive.
In Connecticut, you can receive $225 per kW during the summer events (i.e. times when they pull electricity from the battery) and $50 per kW during the winter events. However, you don’t have to worry about Eversource constantly draining your battery of energy: participating customers experience a maximum of 60 events during the summer, and 5 events during the winter, and each individual event can last no longer than 3 hours.
Your savings from the ConnectedSolutions program will depend on the number of events per year and how much power your solar battery can provide. According to Eversource, “A typical home battery could contribute an average of 5 kW per event. This would earn $1,125 for the summer season and $250 for the winter season.”
Keep in mind that not every storage system is eligible for this incentive: as of July 2020, the types of batteries allowed in CT’s ConnectedSolutions program are sonnen, Generac, or Tesla products.
You can learn more about the ConnectedSolutions program in our overview of the incentive.
Federal solar tax credit
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a customer of a specific utility company to take advantage of the federal investment tax credit (ITC) incentive. If you install your solar-plus-storage system in 2020, you can claim up to 26 percent of the cost of your costs as a credit towards your federal taxes.
Importantly, standalone storage is not currently eligible for this tax credit: to claim this incentive for your battery purchase, you need to charge the battery with an on-site renewable energy resource (for most homeowners, this means rooftop solar). If you have a residential solar panel system and you charge your battery with electricity from the grid, you cannot take advantage of this credit.
However, if you’re installing a solar-plus-storage system on a commercial property, there’s a bit more flexibility: you can claim the tax credit so long as your storage system is charged by your solar panel system more than 75 percent of the time. Importantly, the exact value of the credit depends on how frequently you charge your battery with renewable energy. For example, if you charge your battery with solar 85 percent of the time, it is eligible for only 85 percent of the 26 percent ITC – equivalent to a 22.1% percent credit (85% x 26% = 22.1%).
On average, the ITC can help decrease the cost of a battery by an additional $3,000 to $4,000. You can learn more about the federal investment tax credit here.
Compare battery options on EnergySage
Want to install a solar-plus-storage system in CT? Sign up on the EnergySage Marketplace to receive up to seven custom solar-plus-storage quotes from installers located in your area. If you’re interested in a particular battery system, simply note it in your account so that they can quote according to your preferences.