US solar installer SunPower has launched its ConnectedSolutions virtual power plant (VPP), enabling SunVault battery energy storage system (BESS) customers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut to earn “hundreds of dollars a year” for allowing utility access to their stored energy during peak demand.
Through its VPP, the California-based company will coordinate the charge and discharge of participating customers’ SunVault BESS. It will share electricity with the local utility while reserving enough backup power for home use.
Customers will be alerted prior to discharge and can choose to decline, or pre-set their system so their personal backup does not fall below a certain level.
“With battery storage, homeowners gain energy independence and control for their household, even as blackouts and power shut-offs increase,” said Peter Faricy, CEO of SunPower.
“Now with the SunPower VPP, our customers can choose to participate in programs that will help stabilise the grid for their community while simultaneously offsetting the cost of their system. Citizens and utilities working together to provide reliable and renewable energy is the future of the grid.”
Enrolled customers with SunVault storage systems will be able to take part in their local utilities’ VPP ‘season’, running from June to September each year. SunVault’s lithium iron phosphate system comes in 13kWh and 26kWh sizes and is available nationwide.
SunPower has been looking to grow its residential solar business as it seeks to lower supply chain costs and expands its reach. It acquired rival residential solar provider Blue Raven in October in a deal worth US$165 million.
At the start of this month, SunPower downgraded its full year 2021 revenue guidance, pointing to delays in its commercial and industrial projects business, and it is exploring “strategic alternatives” to its commercial and industrial solutions (CIS) unit.