County-level assessment of behind-the-meter solar and storage to mitigate long duration power interruptions for residential customers
Customer concerns over electric system resilience could drive early adoption of behind-the-meter solar-plus-storage (BTM PVESS), especially as wildfire, hurricane, and other climate-driven risks to electric grids become more pronounced. However, the resilience benefits of BTM PVESS are poorly understood, especially for residential customers, owing to lack of data and methodological challenges, making it difficult to forecast adoption trends. In this paper, we develop a methodology to model the performance of BTM PVESS in providing backup power across a wide range of customer types, geography / climate conditions, and long duration power interruption scenarios, considering both whole-building backup and backup of specific critical loads. We combine novel, disaggregated end-use load profiles across the continental United States with temporally and geospatially aligned solar generation estimates. We then implement a PVESS dispatch algorithm to calculate the amount of load served during interruptions. We find that PVESS with 10 kWh of storage can meet a limited set of critical loads in most United States counties during any month of the year, though this capability drops to meeting only 86% of critical load, averaged across all counties and months, when heating and cooling are considered critical. Backup performance is lowest in winter months where electric heat is common (southeast and northwest U.S.) and in summer months in places with large cooling loads (southwest and southeast U.S.). Winter backup performance varies by roughly 20% depending on infiltration rates, while summer performance varies by close to 15% depending on the efficiency of the central air-conditioning system. Differences in temperature set-points in Harris County correspond to a 40% range in winter backup performance and a 20% range in summer performance. Economic calculations show that a customer’s resilience value of PVESS must be high to motivate adoption of these systems.