In October 2013, The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) responded to the exceptional growth in the state’s demand for solar power with an energy storage mandate – the first of its kind in the US – that requires investor-owned utilities to purchase 200MW of energy storage by 2014 and 1.325 GW by 2020.
Using battery banks to store solar energy surpluses for later distribution, the mandate and the resulting solar energy storage hopes to bring an unprecedented flexibility to the industry by forcing the utilities to more efficiently accommodate the state’s shifting supply and demand trends. Yet, it also represents a shift in thinking - away from the nighttime storing of energy via traditional energy sources to accommodate daytime demand in favor or utilizing daytime surpluses (through solar) to accommodate daytime/early evening demand spikes.
The CPUC also hopes that this mandate will help move storage technology forward as well.
And as utilities work towards the CPUC’s first scheduled deadline in March, the rest of the nation is watching closely as well, curious to see the potentially landscape-changing decision by California as it begins to unfold in 2014.