Case study: Henry S. | Irvine, CA

October 20, 2023

Team Haven

Henry came to Haven because he wanted to stop power outages and maximize his solar generation. Enrolling in our virtual power plant gave him even more – a way to earn extra income and make his community more resilient.

Case study: Henry S. | Irvine, CA image

The problem to solve

Henry came to us with one thing on his mind – stopping power outages.

He had installed a 25-panel rooftop solar system in 2015 and, while he enjoyed the lower electric bills, he was fed up with recurring blackouts. He wanted to invest in a home battery backup so he could run his home during an outage for over 24 hours (without solar) or simply run continuously with solar. With a battery, Henry would be able to complete his energy ecosystem, effectively transforming his home into a mini-power plant.

Haven's recommendation

After understanding Henry's energy goals and getting a snapshot of his electrical set-up, we recommended a two-battery system with Franklin WH batteries. This would let him back up his whole 4,000 square foot home – all the appliances in his main panel – to run for 24 to 29 hours.

And while saving money wasn't top of mind, Henry would also significantly lower his utility bills after installing energy storage. As an example, from May 2021 to May 2022, Henry spent $2,340 on his energy bills. With his Haven system, he'll save approximately $170/month as his battery discharges and powers his home during peak pricing, or about $2,045 a year.

How Henry saves during peak

Henry was also well-positioned to save because of his particular energy plan. Before he came to Haven, he was already on SCE's TOU-D-PRIME rate, designed for high-energy-use households with an EV or plug-in hybrid vehicle, home battery, or heat pump. PRIME customers get a higher peak rate in exchange for a lower off-peak rate. Going forward, Henry's battery will power his home during high peak periods, usually from 4pm to 9pm, and get an additional discount during lower off-peak times, from 9pm to 8am.

Find out how much you can save with a home battery

How to earn with your battery

Once we installed Henry's battery system, we invited him to enroll in our newly launched virtual power plant, where he would be able to earn extra income by participating in demand response programs.

A virtual power plant or VPP is a collection of small, distributed electrical appliances – like home batteries, solar panels, or heat pumps – that can be pooled together to balance the grid. During times of high demand, these appliances can join forces to store or export energy to the grid, preventing the need for natural gas "peaker" plants. The utilities pay Haven for this bundled energy, and Haven in turns pays homeowners. Learn more about our VPP program.

For Henry, enrolling in Haven's VPP was an easy decision. He didn't have to change his routine to enjoy its benefits – helping to make his community more resilient and earning extra income at the same time. We set Henry's battery to a time-of-use schedule, and programmed it to deploy as needed. Henry could always change the settings of his battery as he liked.

As a participant, Henry's battery system works in the background during demand response events, earning him at least $125 a year. Haven also plans around scheduled outages and possible weather events, so Henry's home is always powered. In all cases, we always keep 20% of our customers' battery capacity in reserve, a percentage that can be adjusted if needed.

Any California homeowner who has energy storage can enroll in Haven's virtual power plant. As demand response programs improve the grid's reliability, we expect incentives for participation to increase and grow. Whenever we hear about new programs or ways to earn with a home battery, we always let our customers know.

How does demand response work?

Imagine a hot summer evening when everyone has their ACs on – the demand for electricity is high, outstripping supply. As the power grid struggles to provide enough electricity to meet demand, your home battery is able to export stored energy to the grid or supply your home to reduce its demand from the grid.

This helps re-balance the grid and protects your home (and neighborhood) from outages. The collective impact is huge. During a demand response event, Haven aggregates many, many home batteries in its virtual power plant and presents this capacity to the grid as one bundle.

In the future, we'll be able to provide megawatts of power to the grid, working at the same scale as a fossil fuel power plant. It's a huge help.

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