Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Combining energy storage and EV charging will help five California schools and colleges smooth out power demand and save $1 million on their electric bills.


California Schools Save $1 Million On Energy Storage-EV Charging Combo

Combining energy storage and EV charging will help five California schools and colleges smooth out power demand and save $1 million on their electric bills.

California’s firmly in the pole position for electric vehicle and energy storage integration, so it’s only natural the two technologies would eventually combine to save forward-thinking customers money, right?

This week, Green Charge Networks announced that five California school districts, colleges, and universities are installing GreenStation intelligent energy storage–electric vehicle charging systems on their campuses.

Schoolchildren board their new all-electric school bus

Over 1,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of lithium-ion battery energy storage capacity will be installed across the Mountain View–Los Altos and Oak Park Unified School Districts, Butte and Peralta Community Colleges, and Cal-State Fullerton to balance their electricity supply and save up to $1 million on utility demand charges over the life of their projects – with no upfront costs.

Preventing Demand Charges From Spiking Utility Bills

Schools, like many other workplaces where people spend several hours at a time, are becoming hubs for EV charging. After all, what better time to charge your EV’s battery than during the daytime hours teachers, staff, and students spend in the classroom?

Evatran demonstrates wireless EV charging system.

As more EVs hit the road looking for a public place to charge up, schools increasingly need to consider the cost of charging, especially in a time of tight budgets. EV charging costs can be particularly concerning for customers facing demand charges – additional electricity costs for peak usage added to bills on top of total power usage.

Demand charges exist at varying rates in all 50 states, usually apply to commercial and industrial customers, and are based on the highest 15-minute average power usage within a given month. This may seem like an unfair situation, but they’re designed to cover a utility’s cost of providing power during the highest periods of demand, usually during the middle of the day when schools are in use.

Energy Storage Can Smooth Out EV Charging Costs

Using power consistently over the course of each month is a good way to lower demand charges, but if several EVs are plugged into a school’s network at once, demand can spike just when power costs are highest, and create an unexpectedly large bill at the end of a month – by one estimate, demand charges can total 50% or more of the electric bills for schools and administrative buildings.

EV charging costs

EV charging price spikes graph via Green Charge Networks

But if energy storage is installed, the batteries can charge when power is cheapest and discharge to meet building and EV demand when power is most expensive – exactly what the schools are aiming for. Indeed, the Mountain View–Los Altos School District estimates its demand charges will drop $43,000 per school year by installing the combined storage-charging systems at just two high schools.

Much like third-party solar installers, Green Charge Networks pays to install and maintain the storage-charging systems at the five schools in exchange for a portion of the savings on school electricity bills.

Learning a Lesson On Energy Storage and EV Charging?

California’s grid and state regulators recently unveiled a roadmap for grid-connected energy storage, and Southern California Edison is rolling out a pilot program to test the benefits of intelligent EV workplace charging, all while cleantech researchers work to drive down the cost of EV charging infrastructure.

This shift toward EVs is apparent across California, home to not only America’s biggest EV fleet purchase, but also the most EV-friendly US school.

Those efforts are smart, especially considering California is leading an 8-state charge to put 3.3 million EVs on US roads. But who knows – in time, the biggest lesson on saving money while expanding energy storage and charging infrastructure might just come from California classrooms.

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate policy public relations company based in Oakland, CA.


You May Also Like


Lucid Motors is revolutionizing the electric vehicle (EV) industry with its luxury electric cars. Lucid has reimagined the driving experience to create an unparalleled...


Tesla officially moved its corporate headquarters from California to Texas in 2021, but in recent weeks, the automaker has debuted another new headquarters in...


Moderate to major spring flooding predicted along upper Mississippi River from Minneapolis to St. Louis

Clean Power

California regulators should revise a new rooftop solar plan to make solar more affordable for low-income communities, dozens of groups will tell the California...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.