Beginning this summer, a utility and technology companies will partner on a “virtual power plant” pilot program to offer solar power systems with battery storage to more than 300 New York homeowners.
The partners, Con Edison, SunPower Corp. and Sunverge Energy, say the program will integrate over 1.8 MW of solar power and about 1.8 MW, or 4 MWh, of battery storage. This partnership will represent one the largest residential distributed energy storage programs in the U.S., and it results from New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative, designed to harness and integrate renewables into the state’s power grid.
Under the program, qualified participants will have leased SunPower solar systems installed on their homes to help reduce the homeowners’ monthly electricity costs. For an additional monthly payment, participants also will have Sunverge Energy battery systems, owned by Con Edison, installed and connected to their SunPower systems. In the event of an outage, solar power stored in a participant’s battery storage system will be available to power certain essential load appliances in the home.
Using the storage system’s intelligence, Con Edison will be able to link the hundreds of solar-plus-storage systems together into a virtual power plant that can act as a local generation resource to supply power to the grid during peak usage periods. Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) integration will provide remote monitoring and control, allowing Con Edison to forecast and optimize the performance and reduce the need for the utility to rely on traditional non-renewable power sources to meet peak demand.
“The integrated solar and storage approach enhances value to the grid by providing a dispatchable renewable power source that Con Edison can control and rely on in real time,” says Matthew Ketschke, Con Edison’s vice president of distributed resource integration.
“This ambitious program with Con Edison represents a significant milestone in U.S. energy delivery, demonstrating that combining solar and energy storage can result in a stronger, more resilient grid while providing end customers the opportunity to save on electricity bills,” adds Howard Wenger, SunPower president.
Ken Munson, Sunverge co-founder and CEO, says, “Solar-plus-storage facilitates innovative new approaches for utilities to serve customers, including alternative tariff structures and virtual power plants, and Con Edison is at the forefront of that innovation.”
Con Edison residential homeowner customers who are interested in participating in the program can find more information here.