PGE Smart Battery Pilot FAQ

What is the Smart Battery Pilot?

PGE has received regulatory approval for a five-year pilot program to incent the installation and connection of 525 residential energy storage batteries that PGE will dispatch, contributing up to four megawatts of energy to PGE’s grid. These distributed assets will create a virtual power plant that is made up of small units that can be operated individually or combined to serve the grid, adding flexibility that supports PGE’s transition to a cleaner energy future. In addition, the batteries provide customers with a backup energy resource they can rely on in the event of a power outage.

Why is PGE doing this?

As we build a cleaner energy future and add more renewable power to our mix, we’re developing energy storage so we can make the best use of these more intermittent resources. This is one of five projects that the OPUC approved to test different storage solutions to learn more about the most efficient and effective ways to store power and further modernize our grid.

What does it mean to allow PGE to operate a residential energy storage battery

Participating customers allow PGE to interact with and operate their battery through technology. PGE can send energy to the battery to store and dispatch energy from it to add to the grid. In the event of a power outage, the participating customer retains full usage of their battery for use as a power backup.

What else does PGE hope to learn through this program

PGE will use the residential battery storage pilot to create a single resource that can help the grid balance energy production with energy demand, freeing up the generation resources that are typically held on standby, ready to kick in and accommodate significant fluctuation. This will allow generation resources that are typically fossil-fueled to do what they do most efficiently – generate energy.

The pilot will also allow PGE to test new smart-grid control devices across its distribution system that will more effectively allow a two-way exchange between PGE and pilot participants. The new controls will more actively manage the way that electricity is distributed across PGE’s system to incorporate energy that customers generate, such as through solar panels, while also meeting power demand that is less predictable, such as for charging electric vehicles. The controls will allow PGE to more actively manage power distribution to improve power quality for all customers.

For customers within the PGE Smart Grid Test Bed, PGE will test the localized grid impact of having a large concentration of battery storage devices available on one substation.

What rebates/incentives are available to customers?

When the program launches this fall, incentives will be available to residential customers across PGE’s service area and rebates will be available to customers within three neighborhoods participating in PGE’s Smart Grid Test Bed and income-qualified participants of the Solar Within Reach offering from Energy Trust.

Participation in the pilot program will be available to residential customers, including:

  • Those across PGE’s service area who already have or are installing a qualifying battery. Participation will require an application, and in exchange for allowing PGE to operate their battery for grid services, participating customers will receive a monthly bill credit of $40, or $20 if the battery is charged with solar power;
  • Customers across PGE’s service area who are participating in the Solar Within Reach offering by Energy Trust of Oregon will be eligible for an instant $5,000 rebate in addition to the monthly bill credits; and
  • Those living within the PGE Smart Grid Test Bed who purchase a battery will be eligible for an instant rebate up to $3,000*, in addition to the monthly bill credit of $40 or $20, which will allow PGE to test the full benefits by increasing the number of residences with battery storage in areas near the substations that serve them.

    *Rebates will only be available to the first 200 battery systems installed within the Smart Grid Test Bed neighborhoods.

All participating customers will own their battery systems. Rebates will only be available for systems installed by an Energy Trust of Oregon solar trade ally.

How is PGE working with Energy Trust of Oregon?

PGE is working with Energy Trust to cost-effectively procure the residential battery storage systems by leveraging the existing solar incentive program infrastructure and trade ally contract network.

What residential energy storage batteries will participants be able to buy through the program?

In anticipation of this project, we conducted significant research and a Request for Information (RFI) process to understand the technical abilities and market capabilities of different vendors. In order to give customers a range of choices and ensure technical compatibility with our system, customers will initially be able to choose options from Generac, SolarEdge, Sonnen, Sunverge and Tesla. The PGE interconnection group must review and approve all customers to determine the suitability of exporting energy from each installation location.