- Consolidated Edison, along with SunPower and Sunverge, have announced a $15 million pilot program for a virtual power plant, Greentech Media reports.
The pilot project, which is part of New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) effort, will outfit about 300 homes in Brooklyn and Queens with leased high-efficiency solar panels and lithium-ion battery energy storage systems.
The project is designed to explore the revenue streams made possible by software-enabled aggregation of energy storage. Applications might include T&D deferment, peak shaving, frequency regulation, capacity markets and wholesale markets.
Utilities, regulators and solar power companies around the country are trying to hammer out a workable model for solar power installations. Net metering policies have been a primary driver of the growth of solar power in the past several years, but they are being revisited in about nearly two dozen different states.
In New York those policies have been wrapped up in the wider policy revisions of the state’s REV program.
REV has now produced a pilot program that will be used as the basis to evaluate how solar and storage can be combined with cloud based software to create virtual power plants.
Under the pilot program, expected to begin this summer, Consolidated Edison, SunPower and Sunverge will outfit about 300 New York City homes with a 7 kW to 9 kW rooftop PV system and a 6 kW, 19.4 kWh storage system.
Con Ed will initially own the storage systems with the aim of gathering 1.8 MW, 4 MWh of capacity to serve as a clean virtual power plant. For the pilot program, utility ownership is viewed as a way of getting the systems in the field quickly and collecting data needed to create third-party market structures envisioned under REV.
"The units are designed to be both a local and an ISO resource, with direct control room integration, not just a lower power load modifying source,” Sarah Singleton, senior vice president of marketing at Sunverge, said, according to Greentech Media.
Currently Con Edison is working with the New York Fire Department to have Sunverge’s lithium-ion battery technology approved in the state. Sunverge houses the storage system in a Nema 3R enclosure with a secondary steel enclosure for the battery.
But Ken Munson, CEO of Sunverge, says that the box and safety precautions are not what distinguish the Sunverge system. The real distinction, he said is adding “a cloud layer with real-time energy services on top, and being able to aggregate and control a fleet of devices on the grid in near-real time.”