Haven Energy has experienced substantial growth since the state reduced compensation incentives for solar panel customers and increased tax credits for battery storage systems.
The Sawtelle-based company, which acts as a one-stop shop to guide homeowners through the process of selecting, financing and installing home battery systems, recently closed a $7 million series A funding round and said its business is expanding and accelerating.
Haven Chief Executive Vinnie Campo said that as severe weather conditions such as storms and heat waves continue to impact the state, home battery storage systems can help customers save money, reduce stress on power grids and avoid power outages during high-demand periods. Campo added that there has been a notable increase in homeowners using renewable energy sources.
“We think this is probably the very beginning of that transformation (to renewable energy), and so we think there’s a huge opportunity ahead to help improve the grid, to help stabilize it and to help homeowners get a bit more control over their power,” Campo said
A home battery storage system allows power from solar panels to be stored for later use, including during peak energy usage times when grid stress is high. Homeowners can then use stored energy during peak prices or use that stored energy in the case of a power loss caused by electric grid failure.
Haven set up a “virtual power plant” program in the fall through the California Energy Commission’s Demand Side Grid Support Program. VPPs don’t involve a physical power plant, but rather offer incentives to homeowners that collect energy during the day, store it in their home battery systems and sell it back to the power grid when demand is high. Haven said that VPP participants are guaranteed a minimum of $125 per year in compensation for the power they sell back.
California changed its Net Energy Metering system in April of last year, including an approximately 75% reduction of the value of solar energy credits. However, the new system, NEM 3.0, also established a stand-alone 30% federal tax credit for battery storage systems and $900 million in incentives for pairing them with solar.
Campo said that since Haven is in the business of home battery storage systems, rather than solar panel installation, NEM 3.0 has not impaired its business. He added that the underlying trends of power outages and rising utility costs have also driven accelerated interest in backup power systems.
“The majority of our customers have been homeowners that already have solar and, at the time of installation, might have inquired about a battery, or they thought about it, but chose not to move forward,” Campo said. “Given that battery prices have come down so dramatically now that there’s a tax credit for it, we’re seeing a lot of those homeowners actually add a battery after the fact.”
After evaluating a client’s needs and the home’s location, size and whether it already has solar panels, Haven plans installation, files any necessary paperwork and connects homeowners with electricians and installers. The cost of a home battery system depends on the number of batteries needed and how much backup power is desired.
The company said batteries start at about $18,000 each, and each additional battery runs about $10,000. However, after the new tax credits and rebates, the inital cost of fully installed batteries is about $10,000.
“These trends of power outages and high electric bills that we see in Los Angeles are reminiscent of what’s happening in a lot of California,” Campo said. “Coastal areas, northeast Florida and Texas (for example) are places where there’s frequent and pretty lengthy power outages … we are thinking about how we help bring this solution to more locations.”