Con Ed, SunPower to team on solar "virtual power plant"

Con Edison and SunPower this summer will jointly offer solar power systems with battery storage to more than 300 New York homeowners – creating what they say will be a cost-effective and innovative “virtual power plant.”

The pilot program will provide 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 1.8MW of solar power and about 4MWh of battery storage, ths partnership will represent the largest residential distributed energy storage program in the US, they claim.

Under the program, qualified participants will lease SunPower PV systems installed on their homes to help reduce their 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," says 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," he adds.