ES Solar and sonnen have announced the expansion of their virtual power plant (VPP) programme in Utah and Idaho. Via the Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) Wattsmart Battery Program, the companies are hoping to bring up to 35MWh of grid-interactive battery capacity online in 2022.
The programme, run by Germany-based energy company sonnen and solar contractor ES Solar, has been growing, with over 2,000 consumer batteries enrolled.
In the existing Wattsmart fleet, RMP has direct control over the battery swarm and can dispatch it on demand to meet grid conditions. Daily, dynamic solar time shifting; directed load curtailment; and frequency response and directed solar grid injection are employed when the grid needs power.
With the programme upgrade, ES Solar will target existing solar owners, both within its customer base and externally, to retrofit homes with Wattsmart-enrolled batteries.
With the addition of a sonnenCore+ energy storage system, individual home PV systems will be transformed from sources of intermittent and erratic generation to firm dispatchable grid assets that provide value to grid operations.
The resulting solar battery networks aim to help decarbonise the environment and rapidly scale the blueprint for replacing certain peaking power plants.
In existing and new Wattsmart markets, ES Solar will establish reselling channels with other regional solar contractors and replicate their smart, utility-controlled battery business model throughout the industry with sales, system design and installation training.
With this fleet and Utah’s 600-unit VPP at Soleil Lofts, it is currently believed by sonnen that RMP is directly controlling more residential batteries dynamically and on a daily basis than any utility-controlled battery consumer program in the nation.
In recent years, RMP has gradually ended its solar net metering subsidy to shift focus toward replacing solar alone with solar + energy storage with the Wattsmart Program, described by RMP as a pro-community and pro-grid business model.
By implementing this new model, ES Solar and sonnen are hoping to enable the renewable energy transition by helping build the largest network of utility dispatched smart residential batteries in the US.