Municipal Utility seeks to quantify both grid-side and customer benefits of aggregating customer-sited solar storage
SAN FRANCISCO (September 14, 2015) – Ontario-based utility PowerStream has launched a pilot solar storage program with Sunverge Energy, with the goal of dramatically reducing home electric bills and providing customers with additional outage protection. The pilot is a key component of the utility’s plan to reduce overall power consumption in its service area by 535,440 MWh by 2020, which is the equivalent of taking more than 62,000 homes off the grid.
Rooftop solar panels and Sunverge systems that provide battery-stored power during periods of peak demand will be installed in 20 homes at the outset of the pilot program. All the units will be managed together by the utility to create a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) using Sunverge’s cloud-based software. That will allow PowerStream to manage them as if they were a larger solar energy or energy storage facility, except the power will be distributed at the point of load.
For those homeowners who choose to participate, the pilot project will not only save them money, it will provide them with greater control over their energy usage. For PowerStream, the detailed, real-time insights it will have concerning the VPP and the local distribution system’s performance will let it make smarter decisions about how the storage assets are managed when the company moves the initiative beyond the pilot phase. When implemented on a large-scale basis, a collection of these systems in one area will help PowerStream minimize the extent of power outages and reduce the need for distribution system upgrades.
PowerStream’s Sunverge systems feature 11.4-KWh batteries, power electronics, and multiple energy inputs in a UL-certified appliance that is controlled by cloud-based software. Installed in a small footprint at individual homes, the batteries will provide additional capacity during periods of peak demand, and reliable backup power during outages. Customers will be able to use more of the power they generate from rooftop solar and rely less on power from the grid, which will translate into significant cost savings under Ontario’s new proposed net metering program.
“This pilot project with Sunverge is a further testament to PowerStream’s commitment to cost-effectively deliver cleaner and more reliable power to our 375,000 customers,” said Maurizio Bevilacqua, PowerStream Board Chair and Mayor of the City of Vaughan. “The Sunverge systems will allow us to use rooftop-generated solar power more efficiently and reward our customers through significant bill savings.”
“PowerStream is the first Canadian utility to pilot residential storage units in a virtual power plant model like this, exactly what you would expect from a company with such a long record as an innovator,” said Ken Munson, co-founder and CEO of Sunverge Energy. “This is a win-win for both PowerStream and its customers by paving the way for significantly increased use of green, rooftop solar power that will also be more reliable and save consumers money. That’s why we’re going to see much more of these projects in the future from utilities across Canada and the world.”
- Ontario, which is Canada’s most populous province, closed its last coal plant in 2013, making it one of the few jurisdictions in North America to be completely independent of coal.
- Ontario is now one of the top 5 North American solar markets, ranking 3rd in 2013 and 2nd in 2014. More than 99% of Canada’s solar electricity is generated in Ontario.” (source: Canadian Solar Industries Association).
- Ontario’s proposed net metering program, which is scheduled to go into effect in late 2017 or early 2018, will reward greater self-consumption of solar and therefore will drive greater demand for rooftop solar and energy storage systems.
PowerStream is a community-owned energy company that provides power and related services to more than 375,000 customers residing or owning a business in communities located immediately north of Toronto and in Central Ontario. It is jointly owned by the Cities of Barrie, Markham, and Vaughan. See more at: PowerStream.ca
About Sunverge Energy
San Francisco-based Sunverge Energy was founded in 2009 with the vision of integrating solar, storage, and smart management software to maximize value for both electricity consumers and providers. The company makes the Sunverge Solar Integration System (SIS), a distributed energy storage and management appliance composed of powerful storage batteries, power electronics, and system-management software running in the cloud. The Sunverge SIS lowers costs, increases energy reliability, strengthens the grid, and accelerates the adoption and integration of distributed renewable energy. Investors include Southern Cross Venture Partners, Siemens Venture Capital, Softbank China Venture Capital, and Total Energy Ventures International. For more information, please visit www.sunverge.com.