Solar Battery Storage Savings with SMUD TOU Rates
Aside from giving you access to clean and reliable energy in the event of a power outage, adding a battery unit to your home solar system also helps you save money by using your stored power during your utility’s high-cost, peak hours. Like in summer afternoons, when people are often blasting their air conditioners to keep their homes comfortable.1
Plus, with a solar battery storage system, such as Sunrun Brightbox™ California, and Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) Time-of-Use (TOU) rates, you can automatically take your yearly energy savings with solar even further.
If saving thousands of dollars in electric bills over the next 20 years with Brightbox piques your curiosity, first, let’s dive into what TOU rates are and the TOU rate plan SMUD offers to residential solar customers.
What Are TOU (Time-of-Use) Rates?
TOU rates, dubbed as “Time-of-Day (TOD) rates” by SMUD, are variable pricing structures set by utilities that change depending on the time of day, the day of the week, and the season you use electricity at home.2
With SMUD's TOD rates, when you consume electricity is just as important as the amount you draw from the grid, and these electricity rates are based on the time of day you use it.3
For example, during peak hours (late afternoon to early evening), when most people are at home using their devices and appliances; electricity rates cost more vs. off-peak hours (night to early afternoon), when people are already asleep or have gone to work or school.
Time-of-Use (TOU) or Time-of-Day (TOD) rates are becoming a common offering among utilities across the nation, and California is leading the way. In fact, according to California’s new Net Energy Metering (NEM) policy, any homeowner who installs solar panels in the state is now required to pay TOU/TOD rates instead of a single per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) rate.4
Learn the Details of SMUD’s Time-of-Day (TOD) 5-8 P.M. Rate Plan
SMUD’s TOD 5-8 P.M. rate plan gives you access to more affordable electricity prices during hours of the day when grid demand is lower — before 5:00 p.m. and after 8:00 p.m. on weekdays, and all hours on weekends & holidays. So if you shift some or most of your electricity usage to lower-cost, off-peak hours, you will have better control over the price you pay for it — especially during the summer.5
Now, if you are under SMUD’s TOD 5-8 P.M. rate plan, it does not force you to shut down your grid electricity usage during peak hours completely. Making small changes to your energy habits, such as doing laundry or washing dishes in the morning or at night, can significantly impact the cost of your monthly bill.
SMUD TOD 5-8 pm Schedule*
|TOD 5-8 pm Schedule
|June 1 - Sep 30 (Summer)
||Weekdays 5 pm - 8 pm
||Weekdays Noon - 5 pm & 8 pm - Midnight
||Weekdays Midnight - Noon & All Hours on Weekends & Holidays
|Oct 1 - May 31 (Winter)
||Weekdays 5 pm - 8 pm
||Weekdays 8 pm - 5 pm & All Hours on Weekends & Holidays
*SMUD’s TOD 5-8 P.M. rate schedules and structures are subject to change in the future.
SMUD Rate Time of Day Residential for TOD 5-8 pm Per Season6**
|TOD 5-8 pm Per Season
|Summer June 1 - Sep 30 (Summer)
||$0.12 - $0.16
|Winter Oct 1 - May 31 (Winter)
**For the most up-to-date information about SMUD’s TOD 5-8 P.M. rates, please click here.
Are Brightbox Customers Eligible for a Different SMUD Rate Plan?
SMUD’s TOD 5-8 P.M. rate is the standard rate for residential customers approved for solar and storage installations after December 31, 2017. And while solar battery storage system customers cannot opt out of it, the good news is, the TOD 5-8 P.M. rate is approximately 4% lower vs. the Fixed Rate most SMUD’s non-solar customers are usually on.
Sunrun analyzed the potential savings of the TOD 5-8 P.M. rate, and believes it yields the most savings for Brightbox customers. When submitting your interconnection application to SMUD, we will automatically opt you into the TOD 5-8 P.M. rate structure on your behalf.
What Is Brightbox Smart TOU Allocation?
With their TOD 5-8 P.M. rate, SMUD charges you a higher or lower price depending on the time you draw electricity from the grid. However, having a solar battery storage system, such as Sunrun Brightbox, means your battery performs Smart TOU Allocation during peak hours in the summer to use your stored energy instead of drawing electricity from the grid, helping you offset your utility bills and increase your year-round solar savings.
Why Doesn’t Brightbox Perform Battery Smart TOU Allocation All Year?
Brightbox only performs Smart TOU Allocation during peak hours (5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) in the summer (June 1 to September 30) to optimize your energy savings while balancing your battery unit’s degradation.
Similar to devices like your phone, cordless vacuum, or rechargeable Wi-Fi security camera, the more you use your home battery unit, the greater wear and tear it will experience, contributing to faster degradation.
And since there is a minimal price difference in SMUD’s electricity rates during peak and off-peak hours in the non-summer months (October 1 to May 31), performing Smart TOU Allocation is not as effective because your battery’s degradation cost would far outweigh your possible energy savings in this season.
Ensure a Better Savings Future with Brightbox Today
Our solar advisors are here to guide you every step of the way. Start by requesting your free, complimentary quote. Doing nothing could end up costing you and your family $36,000+ in electricity bills throughout the next 20 to 30 years7, and we are almost sure you would rather give those five figures a more interesting use. If time is (quite literally) money with solar, why wait any longer?