Sunrun—a San Francisco-based provider of home solar, battery storage and energy services—and three Bay Area community choice aggregators are launching a solar and battery storage project designed to provide backup power to vulnerable residents during public-safety power shut-offs, including low-income communities affected by Pacific Gas & Electric's wildfire-prevention PSPSes in 2019.

Sunrun will install roughly 20 MW of solar and battery backup for some 6,000 residents in the East Bay Clean Energy, Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Peninsula Clean Energy service areas, the companies announced July 30. This includes residents of Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

The project is designed to increase renewable generation, reduce overall peak demand and improve grid reliability.

The contracts originated from a joint solicitation that the three CCAs and Silicon Valley Power issued in November, shortly after the Bay Area PSPS events. Each CCA negotiated its own contract with Sunrun.

The additional capacity created by the residential solar-plus-storage installations will be available on a rolling basis between 2020 and 2022, according to the organizations.

"Last fall's power shut-offs were not just an inconvenience or financial hit to residents due to losing perishable groceries in the fridge. They were devastating to vulnerable residents among us who depend on electricity for their well-being," EBCE CEO Nick Chaset said in a news release. "With this program, EBCE is paying an incentive to deploy energy storage systems that benefit our regional energy grid, while also providing the direct benefit of backup power for homes."

EBCE concurrently announced the launch of Resilient Home, its "comprehensive residential battery backup program." Through the program, "Sunrun will pay homeowners $1,000 for this partnership which in turn helps to keep the electric grid operating smoothly during periods of peak electricity demand," EBCE said in the release. 

EBCE said the Tesla Powerwall battery is the technology that Sunrun will install in its service area. It has a goal of installing roughly 1,000 home batteries or 5 MW of storage within the next six months. Of these, at least 20 percent will be installed "in disadvantaged and low-income communities, medical baseline customer homes, and/or the homes of customers on financial assistance programs," the CCA said.

Beyond the prenegotiated solar and battery energy storage pricing for EBCE customers and payment from Sunrun, participating EBCE customers can use incentives from California's Self-Generation Incentive Program to additionally reduce the battery backup system's cost.

"In addition to providing needed resiliency to the members of our community most impacted by power shutoffs, this program is instrumental in shifting away from a centralized, fossil fuel-based grid to one that is distributed, decentralized and decarbonized," SVCE CEO Girish Balachandran said in the release. "Historically, reliability is provided by centralized gas plants. We are at a pivotal moment where it has tipped toward battery storage systems and local resources."

EBCE serves more than 550,000 residential and commercial customers in Alameda County and 11 incorporated cities. PCE serves all of San Mateo County. SVCE serves roughly 270,000 residential and commercial customers in Santa Clara County, including in the cities of Gilroy, Los Altos, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and unincorporated Santa Clara County.