Sunrun and SCE Team up on Virtual Power Plant in California

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It’s been a tough year for California as wildfires and extreme heat strain the power grid and residents’ nerves. Resilience and reliable power are now more critical than ever. To that end, Sunrun and Southern California Edison (SCE) announced a virtual power plant agreement that they say increases grid reliability and lowers power costs.

virtual power plant

By mipan/Shutterstock.com

According to Sunrun’s announcement, during high-demand events such as dangerous heat waves that stress the energy grid, SCE will send signals to Sunrun. Sunrun will then dispatch energy from thousands of its Brightbox solar-powered battery systems in the SCE territory, providing 5 MW of energy capacity to support the overall energy supply.

Sunrun states that it will release stored solar energy to the grid when power is most needed, lowering energy costs and reducing strain on the grid. Bundling power from the residential battery systems together creates a virtual power plant.

The same solar-powered home batteries also provide reliable backup power for several hours, so these households can run essential appliances and electronics if the power goes out.

Sunrun will soon start offering customers the chance to participate in the program. Installations will begin by the end of 2020, with plans to complete all systems by August 2023, the company says.

“The need for a more resilient grid and backup power could not be more apparent in California at this moment in history,” said Lynn Jurich, Sunrun’s CEO and co-founder. “Sunrun’s contract with SCE will provide affordable, clean, reliable energy solutions for California’s grid, as well as help individuals take control of their energy future.”

The partners will participate in the California Independent System Operator’s Resource Adequacy (RA) program, which safeguards California’s grid’s operation. According to the company, at least 10% of the RA capacity from its system will come from low-to-moderate income households assure that everyone can benefit from clean, affordable, and reliable home energy.

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