Low to moderate-income (LMI) households expend a disproportionate amount of disposable income on utilities. Existing weatherization programs for LMI households can lessen but not alleviate these utility burdens. Adding photovoltaic (PV) generation to these homes can both decrease utility costs and reduce utility carbon emissions. However, there is often a mismatch between peak PV production and household electricity consumption requiring the home to export excess generation in the middle of the day which the grid must absorb and reallocate. Thus, PV generation, while both carbon free and affordable, is not as useful to the household or the utility as generation that is synchronous with demand. Integrating behind the meter storage with the PV system can eliminate this mismatch.
The primary purpose of this pilot project is to determine the ability of solar plus storage systems to reduce the energy costs of low-income households by verifying the actual performance of solar plus storage systems while modeling the full economic value of the system for both the household and the utility. In addition, this study will quantify the impact and benefits of the added resiliency provided by the storage capabilities under various scenarios.
This pilot project will install systems in up to five LMI households in the high country area and will collect system performance data for one year. Figure 1 shows an example of how an islanding system works and is not meant to be an exact template for the project systems. Funding for this project is provided by the NC Department of Environmental Quality State Energy Office. WAMY Community Action Agency will assist in selection of the LMI households.