Con Edison is piloting a “virtual power plant” made up of solar-powered homes connected to the grid. That’s thanks to a new partnership with SunPower and Sunverge which will allow more than 300 Con Edison customers in New York to get solar power systems with battery storage. At 1.8 megawatts of solar power and 1.8 megawatts of battery storage, which is equal to 4 megawatt hours, it will be the largest residential distributed energy storage system in the U.S.
The combination aims to improve grid resiliency while also allowing homeowners to use the system as a backup generator system in case the electric grid goes down. Participants will lease SunPower solar panel arrays, which will help reduce electricity costs. They can opt in to the pilot program by paying an additional monthly payment for a Sunverge Energy battery system. The battery systems are owned by Con Edison.
"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.”
"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 vice president of Distributed Resource Integration. As such Con Edison can use the network of homes in the pilot program to provide power as needed and use the battery storage systems to help balance the grid.
The pilot system can serve as a local base generation resource, and since it uses solar power, it generates the most energy during peak usage periods. The system will use a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system that will allow Con Edison to provide remote monitoring and control, allowing Con Edison to forecast and optimize the performance of the system.
"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,” Ketschke said.
It’s the latest solar power energy storage project in New York and is among the first residential solar energy storage projects. Just last month the New York Power Authority (NYPA) partnered with the State University of New York (SUNY) to create a solar microgrid on the campus to test energy storage systems at a commercial scale. Meanwhile a report in California Closing the California Clean Energy Divide recently showed how solar power and a battery storage system can help owners and users control their energy use.Tweet