sonnen, a smart residential energy storage company, and solar contractor ES Solar are expanding Rocky Mountain Power’s (RMP) Wattsmart Battery Program across Utah and, more recently, into Idaho. As it scales its business development organization and regional footprint, ES Solar is expected to bring up to 35 MWh of grid-interactive battery capacity online in 2022 via the Wattsmart program.
As it moves beyond its proof-of-concept phase, ES Solar is experiencing exponential growth with over 6 MWh of monthly sonnen energy storage sales in Utah and Idaho, attributed to the Wattsmart program. In recent years, Rocky Mountain Power has gradually ended its solar net metering subsidy to shift focus toward replacing solar alone with solar + energy storage with the Wattsmart Battery Program, a pro-community and pro-grid business model which other solar contractors have struggled to adapt to. By implementing this new model, ES Solar and sonnen are enabling the renewable energy transition by helping build the largest network of utility dispatched smart residential batteries in the U.S. that is reducing the impact of energy challenges and climate change on society.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved the Wattsmart program in April 2022, making Idaho the second state to embrace Wattsmart. As the first Utah contractor to deploy the new business model for smarter, more grid interactive solar + storage adoption, ES Solar has followed this expansion with Wattsmart customer enrollments in Idaho underway, supported by ES Solar’s new sales office in Idaho Falls. ES Solar hopes to expand to additional states.
ES Solar will target existing solar owners, both within its customer base and externally, to retrofit homes with Wattsmart-enrolled batteries. With the addition of a sonnenCore+ energy storage system, individual home PV systems will be transformed from sources of intermittent and erratic generation to firm dispatchable grid assets that provide value to grid operations. The resulting solar battery networks help decarbonize the environment and rapidly scale the blueprint for replacing certain peaking power plants.
In the existing Wattsmart fleet, RMP has direct control over the battery swarm and can dispatch it on demand to meet grid conditions with daily, dynamic solar time shifting and directed load curtailment, plus frequency response and directed solar grid injection when the grid needs power, as opposed to when it is sunny. The Wattsmart Program is rapidly growing each month, with over 2,000 consumer batteries enrolled. With this fleet and Utah’s signature 600-unit Virtual Power Plant at Soleil Lofts, it is currently believed by sonnen that Rocky Mountain Power is directly controlling more residential batteries dynamically and on a daily basis, than any utility-controlled battery consumer program in the nation.
ES Solar is dedicated to expanding the reach of sonnen’s systems and platform and has been elevated to the role of value-added distributor and Wattsmart flagship solar contractor. In existing and new Wattsmart markets, ES Solar will establish reselling channels with other regional solar contractors and replicate their smart, utility-controlled battery business model throughout the industry. Furthermore, the ES Solar team is the first contractor to have access to sonnen’s newest technology, the stackable sonnenCore+ System, which ES launched in July 2022.
By championing this model for selling grid-interactive solar plus utility controlled residential batteries and continuing to embrace Rocky Mountain Power as a strategic partner, sonnen and ES Solar continue to break from traditional contractor ideologies which position batteries solely as tools for back-up power or off-grid living and the utility as an adversary. The ES Solar approach and the Wattsmart Program prove that true energy transition requires collaboration from the grid, the utility, government, and the citizens of a community.
“The sonnen and ES Solar teams share a vision of solving our growing energy challenges in a meaningful manner by creating a renewable electrified energy system for society’s future that is scalable and effective,” says Blake Richetta, chairman and CEO at sonnen Inc. “As Rocky Mountain Power’s battery program grows, ES Solar is succeeding in overcoming the complex concepts and challenges associated with effectively integrating residential solar + storage into the broader energy system. As this radical model expands into thousands of new homes, so does the use of batteries for the betterment of individuals, society and the environment, which is the ultimate purpose of a solar battery.”
“We’re honored to expand our relationship with sonnen by rapidly increasing the implementation of smart batteries within the Wattsmart program.” states Nic Evans, vice president of strategic partnerships at ES Solar. “Our team emphasizes the need for more than just rooftop solar to drive the clean energy transition and we want to do more than lead this transition, we want to empower other contractors to follow in our footsteps. This is now possible with our value-added distributor model and replicable sales and marketing strategy. As we exceed our goals in Utah and expand into new markets, we’re excited to continue our work with sonnen and Rocky Mountain Power.”