SunPower to sell 11 MW of capacity in New England’s grid

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SunPower will sell nearly 11 MW of capacity to the New England grid in 2023-2024 by aggregating the capacity of nearly 1,400 household solar installations into a virtual power plant.

SunPower made the commitment in the New England grid’s annual capacity auction, which is intended to secure the capacity needed to meet peak power demands. SunPower will sell capacity at a price of about $2 per kW-month, which translates to about $260,000 for the year, or about $190 per installation. The capacity auction secured a total of 34 GW of capacity obligations across New England.

SunPower’s capacity commitment follows that of Sunrun, which last year successfully bid to provide 20 MW of capacity to the New England grid for 2022-2023, using solar-plus-storage installations.

“We look forward to exploring future virtual power plant opportunities with our complete Equinox home solar-plus-storage system,” said SunPower CEO Tom Werner in a press statement. The statement implied that SunPower will meet its 11 MW of obligated capacity with solar-plus-storage. SunPower works with its dealer network to sell and install home solar solutions.

Partnering with SunPower in its capacity bid was CPower Energy Management, a demand-side energy management company.

“To unlock the value” of distributed energy resources such as solar and storage, “we have to allow DERs to provide grid services,” said GridLab Executive Director Ric O’Connell, at a conference of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council last week. Those grid services start with capacity, he added.