Update on Status of LADWP Permitting Customer Energy Storage/Battery Systems

August 25, 2017

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) recognizes the important role of customer-owned energy storage systems, including those paired with rooftop solar systems, that are capable of both storing and discharging energy to allow our customers to better manage their electricity use. LADWP is working diligently to finalize standards that will allow customers to safely install these types of battery energy storage systems and take advantage of state rebates currently available for installation of these systems.

Currently, 124 customers have pending requests for interconnection with energy storage systems. LADWP has mailed informational packages to these customers to explain the delay and seek additional information about their installation. The goal is to review the returned submittal and perform the site assessment by the LADWP’s Electric Service Representative within 10 working days of receiving the information.

It is important to know that energy storage systems located on the customer side of the meter can create a safety risk because of their potential to back-feed electricity into the grid without warning, especially during utility power outages. Without proper safety protocols in place, there is the potential that a member of the public or our power system crews could be seriously injured or even killed due to electric shock. We are now updating our existing Electric Service Requirements (ESR) to include the safe deployment of new battery energy storage technologies.

Additional Background

LADWP currently has 247 kilowatts of interconnected battery storage at various customer sites, installed since 2011. These 11 systems were installed by customers to provide backup electricity in the event of a power outage. These early systems are either pilot projects or unique projects that required careful engineering reviews before approval of the interconnection agreements. In a few cases, they are larger systems owned by commercial customers and are used to offset, or “shave” energy load during peak demand periods.

In 2016, LADWP began proactively securing the new battery storage systems that have the capability of storing and discharging power to the grid. LADWP anticipated the increase in customers’ interest in adopting battery storage after a state sponsored rebate program (Self Generation Incentive Program) became available for emerging energy technologies, including advanced energy storage systems.

In order to better understand the safety features, configurations, operational characteristics, and impacts to LADWP’s electric system of the various battery systems, LADWP began testing battery systems provided by SMA SunnyBoy and the Solar Max System.  LADWP acquired a Tesla PowerWall when it became commonly available and began testing the system in July 2017. The information gained from testing these systems provided the basis for updating the ESR for customer-installed battery systems. The ESR is the standard for construction that LADWP uses for new or modified electric service installations. As new types of battery systems become available in the future, installations conforming with the ESR will provide a uniform and consistent installation with the safety of LADWP employees and the public in mind.

Customer installed energy storage systems are one component of LADWP’s plans to expand the use of energy storage systems as part of transitioning to a clean energy future for Los Angeles.  To learn more about utility-scale energy storage, click here.


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