The new era of the power grid may be characterized not by large power plants and sprawling transmission lines, but by local, flexible energy sources. Such is the vision explained in venture capitalist Bill Nussey’s Freeing Energy, which envisions billion-dollar opportunities for innovators that can reconceive how energy is created, stored, and delivered. This new concept of the grid is already underway, and the latest example is the collaboration between Vermont utility Green Mountain Power, and microinverter and energy storage provider Enphase.
The two announced that Green Mountain Power will offer Enphase batteries at a significant discount in a pilot lease program. In the pilot, Enphase will provide 100 eligible customers with two Enphase IQ Battery 10 units for $65 per month for ten years, or for a single payment of $6,500. That cost does not include installation. Enrolled homeowners benefit from reliable backup power, while also sharing stored energy during times of high demand to help reduce overall costs for all GMP customers.
“This new battery backup leasing program makes getting an Enphase Energy System with its exceptional IQ Batteries an even easier decision for Vermont homeowners. With the new IQ8 microinverters, our customers will be able to easily expand their home battery system over time, giving them even more peace of mind about their energy future. This partnership allows the homeowners, local contractors, and utilities to use Enphase’s state of the art technology to help create a more reliable, affordable, and cleaner grid for all of Vermont.” Liam Madden, director of solar energy at HB Energy Solutions.
The Enphase batteries are lithium ferro-phosphate (LFP) chemistry batteries, which the company said provide a long life cycle and improved safety through thermal stability. They are equipped with a feature to seamlessly power up air conditioners and well pumps in the event of a grid power loss. The batteries come with a ten-year limited warranty with the ability to extend by an additional five years.
Green Mountain Power has another existing virtual power plant offering, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. Under BYOD, upfront payments of up to $9,500 are offered depending on the capacity of the systems enrolled. Green Mountain Power said homeowners that retrofit an existing solar system in one of the areas of the state where battery power is needed most may be eligible to receive an extra $100 per kilowatt. Program participants will be enrolled for a term of a minimum of ten years.
Enphase is also launching its Grid Services Manager, a distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) that Green Mountain Power will use to manage the virtual power plants. Enphase said it plans to offer this software for utility grid managers and distributed energy resource aggregators in the future, playing a role in the new decentralized grid.
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