Sunrun, Sunpower, Google Nest and more in new RMI-led virtual power plant partnership

By Cameron Murray


VPP partnership members Sunrun and Ford have collaborated to create bi-directional charging capabilities for the latter’s F150 Lightning electric truck. Image: Sunrun / Ford.

Google’s smart home division has joined a group of companies including Ford, Sunpower and Sunrun in founding a new partnership centred around scaling the market for virtual power plants (VPP).

The companies announced the launch of the Virtual Power Plant Partnership (VP3), led by RMI, a non-profit focused on accelerating the energy transition globally.

Founding members include automotive OEMs Ford and General Motors, smart home solutions providers Google Nest, OhmConnect and SPAN, and distributed energy resources (DERs) platform and VPP solution companies Olivine, SunPowerSunrun, SwitchDin, and Virtual Peaker.

VP3 will, in its own words, “…work to catalyse industry and transform policy to support scaling VPPs in ways that help advance affordable, reliable electric sector decarbonisation by overcoming barriers to VPP market growth”.

It said that VPPs can leverage EVs, smart thermostats and appliances, batteries, solar PV arrays and additional energy assets to support the grid.

RMI CEO Jon Creyts said: “Our analysis shows that VPPs can reduce peak power demand and improve grid resilience in a world of increasingly extreme climate events. A growing VPP market also means revenue opportunities for hardware, software, and energy-service companies in the buildings and automotive industries. For large energy users, VPPs can significantly reduce energy spend while providing new revenue streams.”

The new organisation will work to:

  1. Catalog, research, and communicate VPP benefits
  2. Develop industry-wide best practices, standards, and roadmaps
  3. Inform and shape policy development

Find out more about VP3 here.

This story first appeared on

PV Tech publisher Solar Media will host the 5th Energy Storage Summit USA, 28-29 March 2023 in Austin, Texas. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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