San Luis Obispo County has installed its first battery storage unit at one of its county buildings to provide renewable backup energy in case of power outages.
The county's public works department hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday in front of the County Health Agency Administration Building, where the battery storage unit was installed.
The battery can store up to 31 hours of electricity which can provide resilience against power outages, public works officials said.
"When there is a power outage, the facility will now be able to use the battery energy storage to supply electricity to keep these sites online," Annie Secrest, SLO County Department of Public Works' Energy and Water Coordinator, said. "This means the critical public health services that these facilities provide to the community will be able to continue."
It can also be used during peak demand periods when electricity prices are highest, according to Cindy Treichler, Deputy Directory of SLO County Department of Public Works.
The battery can be recharged and is expected to last for 20 years. Public works officials projected that the battery storage unit can save the county $800,000 in its lifespan.
The battery storage unit was installed at zero cost to residents. The installation was entirely funded by the State of California Public Utilities Commission’s Self Generation Incentive Program.
The county also partnered with Tesla Inc., which reached out to different public agencies, including the county, for partnership soon after the state program was initiated, said Secrest.
The department plans to install more battery storage units in other locations.
The county plans to begin construction on two sites along the Nacimiento pipeline to support its pump stations later this year, Secrest said. Another project at the Lopez Water Treatment Plant is awaiting permission to operate.