Quantcast

Nation's Largest Residential Solar Storage Project to Launch This Summer

Business

This summer, hundreds of homes Brooklyn and Queens will be recruited in an experiment to create a "clean virtual power plant" that feeds the utility grid with solar energy.

New York utility Consolidated Edison (ConEd) is partnering with solar companies SunPower and Sunverge on a $15 million pilot program that offers high-efficiency rooftop PV panels plus a lithium-ion battery to more than 300 participating homeowners in the two New York City boroughs.

The aim is to build a mini power plant synchronized by a massive fleet of residential solar and energy storage systems. If everything goes to plan, the virtual power plant—which will be operated with cloud-based technology—will have a total capacity of 1.8 megawatts of solar power and 4 megawatt-hours of storage, making it the largest residential energy storage project in the U.S., as Bloomberg reported.

"This ambitious program with Con Edison represents a significant milestone in U.S. energy delivery, demonstrating that combining solar and energy storage can result in a stronger, more resilient grid while providing end customers the opportunity to save on electricity bills," Howard Wenger, SunPower president of business units, said.

This experiment could mean big things for clean power production in the U.S. "If it all works out," as CleanTechnica wrote, "New York City—and the New York State power grid—could provide the model for practically every other metropolis to follow."

ConEd explained in its executive summary of the project that while solar energy has many benefits, from improved air quality to reduction in greenhouse gases, a solar system's peak generation hours do not coincide with the utility's peak load hours, which typically occur after 5 p.m. Because of this, high-carbon peaking turbines are still being used in the evenings, negating the environmental benefits of solar. CleanTechnica noted that these speaker plants probably burn natural gas from fracking operations.

But with the implementation of this clean virtual power plant, ConEd will be able to dispatch stored solar power to customers during peak periods instead of electricity generated by fossil fuels. Voltage fluctuations from partly cloudy days are also negated.

Homeowners in the program will receive a 7-9 kilowatt rooftop PV system and a 6 kilowatt/19.4 kilowatt-hour storage system. If a blackout occurs, these homes can tap into the energy stored by their batteries, meaning they no longer have to rely on a central power station.

"When a grid outage occurs, the integrated system will provide the customers participating in this demonstration continued power to critical components in their home automatically," ConEd said. "This solution offers a simpler, cleaner alternative to the gasoline backup generators available in the market today."

Batteries, such as the ones manufactured by Tesla for homes, businesses and utilities, are clearly beneficial because they supply power after the sun sets or when the power is out. Beyond that, batteries can potentially help the world transition to a carbon-free grid and ensure a cleaner future.

The project is part of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative that aims to integrate renewable energy into utilities’ power grids.

ConEd is working with the New York Fire Department to have Sunverge’s lithium-ion battery technology approved in the state. Sunverge says their "Sunverge Solar Integration System (SIS) is an intelligent distributed energy storage system that captures solar power and delivers it when needed most. It combines batteries, power electronics, and multiple energy inputs in a UL-certified appliance controlled by software running in the cloud. The SIS is a utility-grade product designed for the consumer market."

"The units are designed to be both a local and an ISO [Independent System Operator] resource, with direct control room integration, not just a lower power load modifying source,” Sarah Singleton, senior vice president of marketing at Sunverge, told Green Tech Media.

So how does a homeowner qualify for the program? According to SI Live, "Under the program, qualified participants will have leased high-efficiency SunPower solar systems installed on their homes to help reduce monthly electricity costs ... For an additional low monthly payment, participants will have Sunverge Energy battery systems, owned by Con Edison, installed and connected to their SunPower systems. In the event of an outage, solar power stored in a participant's battery storage system will be available to power certain appliances in the home."

ConEd residential homeowner customers interested in participating in the program should click here.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Apple Is Generating So Much Renewable Energy It Plans to Start Selling It

World’s First Large-Scale Carbon-Neutral Brewery Now in Operation

Solar Added More New Capacity Than Coal, Natural Gas and Nuclear Combined

Solar War Continues in North Carolina: Nonprofit vs. Duke Energy

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Scanning electron micrograph of Yersinia pestis, which causes bubonic plague, on proventricular spines of a Xenopsylla cheopis flea. NIAID / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A middle-aged married couple in China was diagnosed with pneumonic plague, a highly infectious disease similar to bubonic plague, which ravaged Europe in the middle ages, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Milk made from almonds, oats and coconut are among the healthiest alternatives to cow's milk. triocean / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Dairy aisles have exploded with milk and milk alternative options over the past few years, and choosing the healthiest milk isn't just about the fat content.

Whether you're looking beyond cow's milk for health reasons or dietary preferences or simply want to experiment with different options, you may wonder which type of milk is healthiest for you.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Greta Thunberg stands aboard the catamaran La Vagabonde as she sets sail to Europe in Hampton, Virginia, on Nov. 13. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images

Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist whose weekly school strikes have spurred global demonstrations, has cut short her tour of the Americas and set sail for Europe to attend COP25 in Madrid next month, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
The Lake Delhi Dam in Iowa failed in 2010. VCU Capital News Service / Josh deBerge / FEMA

At least 1,688 dams across the U.S. are in such a hazardous condition that, if they fail, could force life-threatening floods on nearby homes, businesses, infrastructure or entire communities, according to an in-depth analysis of public records conducted by the the Associated Press.

Read More Show Less

By Sabrina Kessler

Far-reaching allegations about how a climate-sinning American multinational could shamelessly lie to the public about its wrongdoing mobilized a small group of New York students on a cold November morning. They stood in front of New York's Supreme Court last week to follow the unprecedented lawsuit against ExxonMobil.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

By Alex Robinson

Leah Garcés used to hate poultry farmers.

The animal rights activist, who opposes factory farming, had an adversarial relationship with chicken farmers until around five years ago, when she sat down to listen to one. She met a poultry farmer called Craig Watts in rural North Carolina and learned that the problems stemming from factory farming extended beyond animal cruelty.

Read More Show Less
People navigate snow-covered sidewalks in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on Nov. 11 in Chicago. Scott Olson / Getty Images

Temperatures plunged rapidly across the U.S. this week and around 70 percent of the population is expected to experience temperatures around freezing Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
A general view of the flooded St. Mark's Square after an exceptional overnight "Alta Acqua" high tide water level, on Nov. 13 in Venice. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP / Getty Images

Two people have died as Venice has been inundated by the worst flooding it has seen in more than 50 years, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less