The City is supporting  a stable, resilient, and safe energy supply. It is working alongside the utilities to increase energy reliability in the face of climate change threats, public safety power shutoffs (PSPS), and natural disasters. This is a community-wide effort, which means you are part of the solution!

The City is working on policies and procedures necessary to maintain critical facilities and services in Santa Barbara during the disruption of electricity and natural gas supplies. The City’s main energy assurance priority focuses on continued operation of essential municipal services.

Solar-paired energy storage can be a powerful tool to keep your home or business up and running during a power shutoff. It can also allow you to store solar electricity during the day for use at night when electricity is the most expensive.

Battery energy storage systems (BESS) can be grid-tied or off-grid. Grid-tied battery backup is connected to the utility power grid. During a power outage, grid-tied systems won’t power your home unless it has an inverter that prevents feeding back into the grid. Alternatively, off-grid battery backup allows for complete disconnection from the electric utility.

Three common options for BESS include lead acid, lithium ion, or saltwater batteries. Battery’s capacity and power ratings, depth of discharge, round-trip efficiency, warranty, and manufacturer are also specifications to consider when purchasing a solar-plus-storage system.

Helpful Resources:

Residential solar panels connected to the grid
The image above shows one way residential solar panels can connect to the grid (image: EnergySage)


Battery Energy Storage System Working Group

The City formed a working group with battery energy storage industry representatives in 2020. This collaboration will support BESS adoption community-wide through addressing permitting and installation challenges.

Interested in learning more? email Bri Winkler –

A microgrid is a local energy grid with control capability, which means it can disconnect from the traditional (SCE’s) grid and operate autonomously. Currently, the grid relies on large, remote powered sources and long distance transmission lines. Microgrids remove dependence on these transmission lines, and balance local power generation, energy backup, and electricity demand.

Santa Barbara is currently exploring feasible locations to develop microgrids, as they are recognized as an important element in energy resilience.

Microgrid diagram

The infographic above illustrates how a microgrid works. The microgrid is made up of sources (ex: solar energy); storage (ex: home batteries); and customers. It can operate independently of the utility grid, keeping customers powered up during utility power shutoffs.

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