Utility provider ConEdison has partnered with residential solar provider SunPower to launch a virtual power plant pilot program in New York. The program will offer 300 homeowners solar power systems and battery storage for their homes. The solar power systems will be used to generate supplemental energy and the batteries will be available as back-up in the case of outage. The installed power systems will also supply the macrogrid with energy when needed, “to improve grid resiliency, reliability and sustainability,” the companies said.
Under the program, participating homeowners will lease both the solar systems and the batteries from SunPower and ConEdison. ConEdison is using Sunverge Energy battery systems.
All together, the 300 pilot program participants will have 1.8 MW of installed solar capacity and 4 MWh of battery storage. “This partnership will represent the largest residential distributed energy storage program in the US,” the companies said.
The solar and storage systems are equipped with special sensors that enable ConEdison to link the systems across its pilot installed base to form a virtual power plant. This network of energy generators will be able to supply the traditional power grid during peak usage periods. The network is equipped with remote monitoring and control, which will enable ConEdison “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,” said Matthew Ketschke, Con Edison’s VP of distributed resource integration.
The pilot program is part of a wider initiative from the state of New York to integrate more renewable energy resources into utility grids.