Con Edison “Virtual Power Plant” Program Combines Solar and Storage to Improve Grid Resiliency
Beginning this summer, Con Edison and SunPower Corp. will partner on a pilot program to offer solar power systems with battery storage to more than 300 New York homeowners. The aggregation of hundreds of homes with solar power and battery storage will provide the utility with a cost-effective and innovative “virtual power plant,” providing participating homeowners with a backup system in case of an outage while also supplementing the traditional energy delivery model to improve grid resiliency, reliability and sustainability.With the integration of over 1.8 megawatts of solar power and about 1.8 megawatts, or 4 megawatt hours, of battery storage, this partnership will represent the largest residential distributed energy storage program in the U.S. It results from New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative, designed to harness and integrate renewables into the state’s power grid.
Under the program, qualified participants will have leased high-efficiency SunPower® solar systems installed on their homes to help reduce the homeowners’ monthly electricity costs. For an additional low 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,” 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 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,” 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.”