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Sunrun Promises Innovative Solar + Storage Virtual Power Plant For Hawaii

Sunrun, the United States’ leading home solar, battery storage, and energy services company, announced last week it intends to participate in Hawaiian Electric Company’s emerging grid services market by delivering electricity from a virtual power plant made up of home solar and batteries. 

Sunrun, the United States’ leading home solar, battery storage, and energy services company, announced last week that it intends to participate in Hawaiian Electric Company’s emerging grid services market by delivering electricity from a virtual power plant made up of home solar and batteries.

Sunrun Brightbox setup
Image Credit: Sunrun

The virtual power plant will deliver electricity to the Hawaiian Electric Company as part of an innovative Grid Services Purchase Agreement with Open Access Technology International (OATI) — the largest provider of software-as-a-service for grid operations in North America. Specifically, Sunrun will create one of the largest residential virtual power plants in the world by utilizing the clean energy stored in approximately 1,000 Sunrun Brightbox home battery systems to the electricity grid on the island of O’ahu.

The project will begin in 2020 and continue through to at least 2024. The virtual power plant will act as a traditional power plant in times of peak demand, sending electricity stored across hundreds of residential solar and storage systems to the island grid to smooth demand or to prevent potential power outages — safeguarding against blackouts and providing reliable, stable power to the island’s residents.

“This is a landmark moment for Sunrun, for Hawaii, and the future of energy in our country,” said Sunrun co-founder and CEO Lynn Jurich. “This program is a clear demonstration that rooftop solar and batteries are driving the creation of a more locally-powered energy system, and provide important value to customers, utilities, and the broader electricity grid.”

“We are excited to have Sunrun join with OATI to provide real-time aggregation of behind-the-meter solar and battery storage assets,” added Dr. Sasan Mokhtari, President and CEO of OATI. “Together, OATI and Sunrun will work cooperatively with Hawaiian Electric to bring Hawaii’s consumers a greener future and also exemplify how this new power system operations model can positively link utilities, grid service suppliers, and end customers.”

In the process of providing grid stability measures, Sunrun and OATI will earn compensation from Hawaiian Electric for managing and dispatching the networked home solar and battery-stored energy to the grid. This, therefore, opens up a new revenue stream for the two companies and similarly will see Sunrun Brightbox customers compensated through credits attached to their electricity bills.

“Home solar and batteries mean peace of mind for me and my family,” said Anthony Aalto, Sunrun’s first Brightbox battery customer on O’ahu. “I’m excited about the ability to extend the benefits of home solar systems to my entire community.”

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