connectedsolutions battery program

The ConnectedSolutions program: what you need to know in 2020

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Interest in adding batteries to solar panel installations is increasing throughout the country at a rapid clip. In fact, there were 500% more batteries installed in 2018 than in 2017, an upward trajectory that continued into 2019 as well. However, in many states, there are very few rebates and incentives available for homeowners interested in purchasing an energy storage system. 

If you live in the Northeast and want to save money on a battery, you’re in luck: the ConnectedSolutions program is a utility-run incentive program in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island that provides an annual incentive check when you purchase a battery and participate in the program. Read on to learn more about what the program is, how much you can save (spoiler alert: it’s thousands of dollars!), and how to participate. 

ConnectedSolutions: a bring-your-own-battery program

The ConnectedSolutions program is reasonably straightforward: your utility will pay you an annual incentive in order to be able to access and use the energy stored in your battery on a limited number of days each year. The program design, frequently referred to as a “bring-your-own-battery”, or “bring-your-own-device”, program, is a new offering from utilities who are looking to take advantage of the benefits of batteries installed by their customers. For a deeper dive on how these programs work, and why utilities are offering them, check out our article on bring your own battery programs.

On very hot days, electricity prices can often be quite high as homeowners and businesses run their air conditioning at full blast. This requires utilities to turn on infrequently used power plants, which are expensive to run–and which have higher carbon emissions than other types of power plants. The idea of the ConnectedSolutions program is that instead of relying on these high-cost, high-emission power plants, your utility can instead call upon your battery–and similar ones owned by other homeowners.

The result is a win-win-win: you get paid by your utility to participate, your utility can decrease overall costs by avoiding running costly power plants, and all electricity consumers are off the hook for paying for more expensive electricity from these infrequently used power plants. 

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How much can you save with ConnectedSolutions?

The ConnectedSolutions program is designed to pay you by season based on the power output of your battery. For example, many batteries available to homeowners have a power rating of 5 kilowatts (kW). (This is about the amount of power required to run a clothes dryer.) The incentive is designed to pay you per kilowatt, per season: in Massachusetts, you receive a  $225/kW incentive during the summer and a $50/kW incentive for participation during the winter. 

The program is designed to lock in your incentive rate for the first five years, and to continue to offer incentives at a revised rate from then on. This means that, for a standard solar battery, you will receive incentive payments of between $4,000 and $9,000 over the five-year life of the program in most states.

Many solar batteries cost between $10,000 and $15,000 before rebates and incentives. After factoring in the federal investment tax credit (for batteries paired with solar), this range becomes $7,600 to $11,400. In some states, you may be eligible for additional incentives: for instance, the SMART program provides an energy storage adder that may provide an additional financial incentive of between $2,500 and $5,000 over ten years. All told, this means your payback period for investing in a battery will be about five years from rebates and incentives alone.

Notably, the incentives vary by state, as well as for residential versus commercial customers. See below for a table of how the savings stack up for homeowners:

How to participate in the ConnectedSolutions program

If your electric utility is either Eversource or National Grid and you live in Connecticut, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island, then you qualify for ConnectedSolutions! Each utility has separate requirements for participation, and only certain batteries (as well as customers who install a battery with the SolarEdge StorEdge inverter) can participate. 

For Massachusetts, the requirements, eligible batteries and the program application can be found on MassSave’s website. For customers in RI and CT, it’s best to visit your utility’s website, as National Grid and Eversource have pages dedicated to the program. 

Shop for solar batteries on EnergySage

Want to participate in the program, but don’t know where to begin searching for a solar battery? EnergySage is here to help. In addition to helping homeowners throughout the country to save thousands on solar, we also can help you receive and compare quotes for storage in addition to solar. Let us know you want storage in your quotes when you register for the free-to-use EnergySage Marketplace, and we’ll gather no-obligation quotes from up to seven local installers who can install solar + storage at your property.

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