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Lifecycle cost and carbon implications of residential solar-plus-storage in California.

  • Author(s): Zheng, Jiajia;
  • Lin, Zih-Ee;
  • Masanet, Eric;
  • Deshmukh, Ranjit;
  • Suh, Sangwon
  • et al.
Abstract

Capacities of residential photovoltaics (PV) and battery storage are rapidly growing, while their lifecycle cost and carbon implications are not well understood. Here, we integrate PV generation and load data for households in California to assess the current and future lifecycle cost and carbon emissions of solar-plus-storage systems. Our results show that installing PV reduces $180-$730 and 110-570 kgCO2 per year per household in 2020. However, compared to solar-only system, adding battery storage increases lifecycle costs by 39%-67%, while impact on emissions is mixed (-20% to 24%) depending on tariff structure and marginal emission factors. In 2040, under current decarbonization and cost trajectories, solar-plus-storage leads to up to 31% higher lifecycle costs and up to 32% higher emissions than solar-only systems. Designing a tariff structure with wider rate spreads aligned with marginal carbon emissions, and reducing the costs and embodied emissions of batteries are crucial for broader adoption of low-carbon residential solar-plus-storage.

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