Sunnova and SolarEdge partner to provide grid support services in New England


Sunnova Energy will partner with National Grid and SolarEdge Technologies to use its solar and storage assets in New England to help improve power quality in the utility’s service area.

Sunnova and SolarEdge will provide voltage support across Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It said the move would show that distributed resources can unlock additional value to ratepayers. Sunnova’s aggregated residential solar and storage portfolio produces more than 150 GWh of energy each year.

Over the last decade, the industry has built around 838 MW of residential distributed energy assets in Massachusetts and 58 MW in Rhode Island, according to Wood Mackenzie. The partnership is intended to help National Grid reduce distribution system losses and allow for more efficient power delivery.

In February, Sunnova won a bid to provide 85 MW of aggregated rooftop solar energy into the capacity market auction run by the Independent System Operator-New England. The company bundled thousands of rooftop solar systems to arrive at its bid.

Its commitment priced at nearly $3/kW-mo across the region, and Sunnova estimated the first-year value to be around $2 million, and the gross value across the delivery term to be roughly $38 million.

As an ISO-NE market participant, Sunnova’s residential solar portfolio will offer renewable energy capacity to the regional grid that serves New England. The company will begin participating in June 2024.

VPP movement

Sunnova’s work in New England is part of a growing trend to use distributed energy resources to support the grid and function as a virtual power plant. Comprised entirely of distributed residential energy storage, these plants stabilize the grid, and often eliminate the need for new fossil peaker plants.

Starting in July, Tesla Powerwall owners in California can “opt in” to a virtual power plant program that is being used as a public service during the state’s current power grid challenges. As many as 50,000 Powerwalls are available to create what Tesla claims to be one of the largest distributed battery systems in the world. Most of the Tesla Powerwalls that are installed are 5 kW/13.5 kWh, suggesting a maximum potential capacity of 250 MW/675 MWh.

And elsewhere:

  • On July 19 Hawaiian Electric made available up to $34 million for people who add batteries to their solar power projects. In exchange for the incentive, customers must use or export power during two peak hours, determined by HECO.
  • Five days earlier, Sustainable Westchester of New York launched its sonnenCommunity New York Virtual Power Plant. Sonnen said it hopes to link 5,000 units totaling 80 MWh, and participate in the 2024 New York ISO market.
  • On July 13, Arizona Public Service launched a $1,250 incentive for anyone that installs a new battery, and allows up to 80% of the battery to be used during events. The docket includes HVAC and electric vehicle changing in the demand charge program as well.

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