Further increases will make integration even more challenging, according to the California Independent System Operator, the entity responsible for maintaining the reliability of the grid.

Fortunately, new concepts and technologies are constantly being developed or improved – such as battery storage, advanced controls, and other distributed energy resources (DERs) – that can help California meet its energy and climate goals, and reduce energy costs for ratepayers and utilities.

To help make sense of it all, the California Energy Commission recently partnered with San Francisco-based Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3) to develop the Solar+ Storage Modeling Tool, which easily assesses the cost effectiveness and benefits of solar, storage, and other DER technologies.

The tool estimates the value of integrated solar and storage systems based on their expected optimal operations, location on the grid, market prices, and other characteristics. It also evaluates the operation of distributed solar and storage in combination with other DER technologies such as smart thermostats, electric vehicle chargers, and similar devices.

The results provide insight to the synergy among multiple technologies, as well as their impact on distribution deferral values and customers’ bills. It also provides flexibility in evaluating future rates, demand response, and resource adequacy program designs.

For information on the tool, contact Liet Le.