German home energy storage and virtual power plant (VPP) Sonnen and solar power contractor ES Solar are expanding virtual power plant (VPP) programs in Utah and Idaho to deploy 35MWh of residential battery storage by the end of the year energy system.
Utility company Rocky Mountain Power (RMP)'s Wattsmart plan was approved by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission in April. The program gives residential battery storage owners the option of letting RMP take control of their battery storage systems to support the grid in exchange for up-front incentives and ongoing bill credits.
RMP companies have direct control over registered battery storage systems and can dispatch on-demand to meet grid operational constraints, including energy time shifting and load shedding, as well as providing frequency response services when the grid needs power most.
ES Solar expects the deployment of battery storage systems to reach 35MWh in 2022 through the implementation of the Wattsmart program. As a result of the program, Sonnen's sales of energy storage systems have reached more than 6MWh per month, the company said.
In recent years, RMP has ended its solar net metering subsidy program and shifted its focus to a residential solar+energy storage model with the Wattsmart program. The company claims the model is helping build the largest utility-dispatched smart residential battery storage network in the United States. ES Solar was the first contractor in Utah to deploy the model.
ES Solar said it has deployed battery storage systems in up to 98 percent of new solar facility sales as part of the Wattsmart program, with more than 2,000 residential battery storage systems already registered. It is expected to add 1,500 customers by the end of 2022, reaching more than 5,000 by the end of 2023. The company mainly retrofits existing residential solar power generation facilities and deploys battery energy storage systems.
ES Solar is the first contractor to use Sonnen's latest technology, ES Solar's stackable SonnenCore+ system, launched in July 2022.
Sonnen Chairman and CEO Blake Richetta commented: "As the Wattsmart program evolves, ES Solar has successfully overcome the complex concepts and challenges associated with the effective integration of residential solar + storage projects into the wider energy system. "As this radical model expands to thousands of homes, the use of battery storage can improve conditions for individuals, society and the environment, which is the ultimate goal of adopting residential solar+energy storage projects."
The scheme is one of several high-profile virtual power plant (VPP) projects making progress in the US market.
Last week, California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) CEO Patti Poppe tweeted an important update on its Virtual Power Plant (VPP) program it launched with Tesla in July. He said that with the launch of the scheme, the company's nearly 2,500 households have fed up to 16.5MW of electricity to the grid.