Published on June 14th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill
Con Edison & SunPower Team Up To Create New York “Virtual Power Plant”
Con Edison and SunPower will team up to pilot a “virtual power plant” program by offering solar power systems with battery storage to more than 300 New York homeowners.
In an announcement made this week, Con Edison, one of the United States’ largest investor-owned energy companies, will partner with SunPower, a world leading renewable energy company, to start a pilot program which will offer solar power systems with battery storage to more than 300 New York homeowners, that in turn will act as a “virtual power plant.” The program will provide homeowners with reliable renewable energy systems and energy on demand by way of the battery systems, as well as creating Con Edison’s hoped-for virtual power plant, which will provide homeowners with backup power in case of an outage, while also supplementing traditional energy delivery for Con Edison, which improves grid resiliency, reliability, and sustainability.
According to SunPower, the pilot program will make use of over 1.8 MW of solar power and 1.8 MW, or 4 MWh, of battery storage, making it the largest residential distributed energy storage program in the US, backed by New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative.
The virtual power plant will act in two ways: The battery systems will provide needed electricity for essential load appliances in the home during outages. Meanwhile, during normal activity, the battery systems will act as a linked local generation resource to supply power to the larger grid during peak usage periods.
“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 vice president of Distributed Resource Integration. “We are excited to offer customers high performance SunPower systems for no upfront cost, and a cheaper, greener, simpler alternative to a traditional backup generator.”
“This ambitious program with Con Edison represents a significant milestone in US 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,” said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, business units. “Increasingly, SunPower is working with forward-thinking utilities to integrate advanced energy solutions and enable the transition to a more sustainably powered world.”
“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,” said Sunverge Co-Founder and CEO Ken Munson. “We’re proud to partner with Con Edison and SunPower on this very significant project, providing intelligent storage to help ensure the delivery of reliable renewable power to New York residents even during power outages.”