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Sunrun’s Frequently Asked Questions on Solar & Battery Storage and Lights On Silicon Valley

Overview

It’s a program from Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) to develop a network of storage devices. These systems will also help its customers maintain power during grid outages. Eligible homeowners who install solar and storage with Sunrun can get a $1,250 rebate if they sign up for this program.

When your battery is enrolled in Lights On Silicon Valley, it joins a local network of storage devices to provide some power to the grid when it needs it the most. You benefit by selling your excess energy at the highest peak rate possible. By utilizing a little energy from all of these devices, we can help the grid avoid turning on natural gas power plants at these times and keep emissions low.

You get a discount on your solar and storage system, backup power to use in case of an outage, and the grid gets even cleaner. It’s a win-win-win!

 

SVCE is working with Sunrun, a leading provider of solar and backup battery systems, to install systems that will increase local electricity generation, help provide backup power to residents in the event of grid outages, and create a network of storage devices that will help SVCE’s communities build a cleaner and more resilient grid. SVCE selected Sunrun to develop and manage a network of solar+storage systems in its communities for the Lights On Silicon Valley program and help the grid.

Note: Silicon Valley Clean Energy does not endorse, guarantee, or make any representations regarding any vendor, contractor, service or product on this website.  All transactions are solely between you and the vendor, contractor or other third party and SVCE shall have no liability.

About solar

Cells in each solar panel convert sunlight into electricity that’s delivered to your home’s main electrical service panel. Your system turns on and off automatically. Your home will use the electricity generated by your solar panels first and then pull any other electricity you need from the grid. If you use less electricity than your solar panels generate, your excess generation will be sent to the grid. 

A Sunrun representative can help you evaluate solar for your home. If you are a single-family homeowner with a roof that has good sun exposure, without many trees or other obstacles that block the sun’s energy, you are probably a good candidate. They’ll also look at things like your household energy usage and roof space to determine the right system for you.

Yes. Sunrun can install solar panels and a home battery that will provide backup power during grid outages (including PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events during fire season). This is an alternative to loud and potentially dangerous fossil fuel generators. Sunrun also offers solar battery service and can provide details during your free consultation. 

Note: if you already have solar, Sunrun expects to offer the capability to install a home battery with your existing solar in late 2021. 

If there is a power outage, your battery will take over sending power to your backed up breakers within a few seconds and will continue to do so until power is restored or the battery runs out of energy. Your system is designed to supply 8 to 12 hours of backup energy, but how long the battery lasts will depend on how much energy you use. The battery will recharge when the sun comes up, helping you to power through multi-day outages.

What are my options?

Yes, Sunrun can install a standalone backup battery for you provided you qualify for a free battery through the California SGIP Equity Resilience Program.  At this time Equity Resiliency incentives are fully subscribed but you may still join the waitlist in the event that more government funding becomes available.  Learn more about the CA Equity Resilience program here. You will not be eligible for the $1,250 rebate through Lights On Silicon Valley if you only install a standalone backup battery. If you do not qualify for the Equity Resilience Program, Sunrun cannot install a standalone backup battery. Note that the battery has a limited amount of electricity. By installing solar and battery backup, the solar panels can recharge the battery when the sun is shining. 

Not at this time.  Sunrun expects to support the addition of batteries to existing solar systems in late 2021.

Eligibility and rebates

SVCE customers who install solar and storage and participate in Lights On Silicon Valley will receive the $1,250 rebate. By enrolling in this program, you join a network of local customers that send their battery’s excess energy to the grid during peak hours.  This helps avoid reliance on natural gas power plants that produce carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions and aligns with when you will already be selling your stored excess energy at the highest peak rate possible (see Rates and Billing section below for more details).  Note that only a portion of your battery’s energy will be used, and you will have use of the battery and solar to recharge in the event of power outage.

You apply for the rebate with Sunrun. You can expect to receive the rebate 4-8 weeks after the system is installed.

This program and rebate is available only when you install with Sunrun and participate in Lights on Silicon Valley. Other installers may have their own rebate programs.

If you are on a medical baseline rate, use electric medical devices in your home, have an electric well pump, or qualify based on household income, AND live in a high fire threat area affected by multiple PSPS, you might qualify.  At this time Equity Resiliency incentives are fully subscribed but you may still join the waitlist in the event that more government funding becomes available.  

  • CA Equity Resiliency Criteria here.
  • Medical baseline: Find out if you qualify here.
  • High fire area: Check if you live in a high fire area here.

Costs, savings, and energy credits

The price varies since each system is designed for a specific roof and customer. When you request a free quote from Sunrun, they will include pricing and financing details to help you decide which option you prefer.

If a customer is eligible for SGIP Equity / Resiliency incentives, this may substantially reduce the cost of the battery and solar. Sunrun can review this and financing options with you. At this time Equity Resiliency incentives are fully subscribed but you may still join the waitlist in the event that more government funding becomes available.  

 

Your savings depend on several factors, including the size of your solar panel system, the angle and shading of your roof, and how much you spend on electricity. Many customers with solar panels can produce enough energy for all or nearly all of their needs. Sunrun will provide an estimate of savings.

Rates and billing

The backup battery will not affect your rates or energy cost, but will provide a limited amount of electricity in the event of a grid outage.

Your solar and battery storage savings will depend on several factors, including the angle and shading of your roof and how much you spend on electricity.  When you request a free quote from Sunrun, they will include pricing and savings information to help you understand the impact to your home specifically.

Generally, including a battery with your solar installation will let you store excess solar energy and then allow you to discharge that energy during the time of day when rates are at their highest, maximizing the value you get from your solar electric system.

Adding a backup battery will not change your energy rates.  The battery will, however, let you store excess solar energy and then allow you to discharge that energy during the time of day when rates are at their highest, maximizing the value you get from your solar electric system. 

You will still get a consolidated bill from PG&E/SVCE that includes a fixed fee and delivery fees from PGE, along with generation costs for any excess energy usage from SVCE.

If you generate more energy than you use, you will get energy credits on your bill. Periodically there will be “true-ups” where you will get a refund if you generate more electricity than you use, or you will pay for excess energy consumed. View the details of the SVCE NEM program.

If you choose a power purchase agreement with Sunrun, then you will not be responsible for buying the system or the maintenance, but Sunrun will bill you at a reduced rate for the energy that is generated by the system. 

Sunrun can provide estimates of how much you will save overall for each of the purchase and financing options.

 

 

Your energy rate with SVCE is not affected if you purchase the system or do a PPA. However, you will be generating electricity, so your usage costs from SVCE can be decreased, eliminated, or you may get a refund, if you generate more than you use. If you choose a PPA, then you will buy the energy generated by the panels, at a reduced rate, from Sunrun.

Sunrun can provide a free estimate and explain the options and rates after receiving your inquiry. 

Yes. If your panels produce more electricity than your home uses, the surplus energy goes back onto the electricity grid and you receive energy credits. If you use more energy than your panels produce, then you will be billed for the power that you use from the grid.  It may help to think of your meter turning one way when you use energy, and the other way when you produce it. Note that PG&E will also bill a minimum charge each month.  Please visit the SVCE Net Energy Metering page for more information about credits and energy usage policy. 

Contract and warranty

The battery or solar + battery system will be provided by Sunrun. They will be responsible for assisting you during system selection, installation and customer service. If you opt for a PPA Sunrun will be responsible for maintenance. If you opt to purchase your system outright, you will be responsible for maintenance. SVCE is not a party to your contract with Sunrun for a system.

You have the options of power purchase agreement (PPA), cash purchase, and financed purchase.

Sunrun representatives can explain the PPA, cash purchase, and loan/financed options and provide a free estimate. Note that the $1,250 rebate is only available for systems with a battery and a power purchase agreement (PPA).

 

If the financing option you choose is the Sunrun PPA agreement, at the end of your agreement term, Sunrun offers three options:

  1. You can purchase the solar system at the fair market value.
  2. You can renew your agreement with Sunrun on an annual basis.
  3. Sunrun can remove the system at no cost to you.

Under a PPA agreement, Sunrun is responsible for service and maintenance. If you purchase the system outright, then you are responsible for cost of service and maintenance.

Sunrun provides warranties on the equipment, 25 years of service and support for PPA systems. 

If the system generates less than the guaranteed power generation, Sunrun will refund the difference. 

Please contact a Sunrun representative or see Sunrun literature for details.

General

Changes may be required to your house electrical system or panel. Sunrun can provide free estimates for electrical upgrades with the system. SVCE may offer rebates for panel upgrades as part of their other programs, such as the Heat Pump Water Heater program. Learn more at svcleanenergy.org

Sunrun can assist in making the transfer to a new owner. Please contact Sunrun for details

Sunrun typically does not recommend installing solar on roofs that require major repairs, due to safety or water infiltration issues. Depending on  available programs, it may be possible to bundle re-roofing with Sunrun solar installations. 

Throughout the installation process, Sunrun’s customer’s project coordinator will be the main point of contact. Their contact information can be found on mysunrun.com.

If any issues or questions arise, customers may contact the Sunrun Customer Care team at 855-478-6786.