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SunPower launches Virtual Power Plant; utilities to use customer stored energy during peak demand

California — SunPower announced the launch of its Virtual Power Plant (VPP) solution, enables energy storage customers to get paid for allowing the utility to use stored energy during peak demand and contribute to a more stable power grid in their community.

During hours of peak energy demand, like a hot summer day when many air conditioning units turn on at the same time, utilities need additional resources to meet increased demand and simultaneous energy needs. VPPs can enable utilities to extract this energy from efficient, renewable energy resources like distributed solar and energy storage and disperse it among all grid-connected customers to create a more stable and sustainable source of power.

Through the SunPower VPP, SunPower will coordinate the charge and discharge of participating customers’ battery, sharing energy to the utility on their behalf while reserving some electricity in the battery for backup power to the home when needed. Customers will be notified prior to discharging the battery and can choose to bypass or pre-set their system so their personal backup does not fall below a certain level. In return, customers are compensated by the utility for their participation.

“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 stabilize 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.”

SunPower’s first VPP offering, ConnectedSolutions, is available to qualifying customers served by Eversource and National Grid in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Enrollment is open now and can be completed with just a few clicks.

Those enrolled in ConnectedSolutions will have the opportunity to participate during their local utilities’ VPP season, running June through September each year. SunPower passes through all grid payments directly to participants, who can earn hundreds of dollars per year in exchange for allowing the utility to discharge their battery during times of peak energy demand.

State policies alongside federal incentives and falling technology costs have spurred growth of solar in New England according to the 2021 Regional Electricity Outlook. ISO-NE, the organization overseeing the region’s clean energy transition to ensure a sustainable and cost-competitive resource mix, leverages solar and battery storage to provide a third of the grid’s power. With solar systems, batteries, and now its VPP program, SunPower is enabling more New England residents to help stabilize the grid with renewable energy.


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