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Battery storage system sitting in a garage Anatolia Project Brings Energy Storage to the Community

Smart Grid Pilot Stores Sunlight to Improve Grid Reliability


Families in Rancho Cordova have been storing more than old Christmas decorations and junk in their garages: they've been storing sunlight. As part of a research and development (R&D) project funded in part by the Energy Commission, lithium-ion battery systems the size of a refrigerator were installed in garages to provide real-world data about how energy storage will fit into California's clean energy future-and our lives.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District's Smart Grid pilot project in the Anatolia community also included energy storage installed near local distribution transformers to serve multiple houses at once.

The combination of solar power and storage means energy produced during peak midday hours can be saved and used during high demand times in the evening. The pilot project includes solar panels on families' roofs, and researchers have been investigating how well the renewable resources and storage technologies can work together to improve grid reliability while benefiting individual customers. A $500,000 investment from the Energy Commission helped attract more than $4.3 million to the project from the U.S. Department of Energy.

With climate change being a growing national concern, energy storage is pivotal in the fight to lower greenhouse gas emissions: renewable energy from solar and wind is produced only when the sun is shining. In order to use it at specifically targeted times, it must be stored. The Energy Commission is investing multiple energy storage research and demonstration projects across California to provide data about an array of storage options.

These efforts help drive technological advancement, collaboration, and private-sector investment. Field evaluations such as this advance our understanding of how best to store energy and lower electricity bills while providing critical grid support.