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Maximizing the Benefits of Solar-Plus-Battery Systems with VPPs

2024-01-15
Rooftop solar systems have come a long way in recent years. With the phasing out of net metering in many markets, homeowners are now turning to solar-plus-battery systems to optimize their energy consumption and make the most of their clean energy generation.

Utilizing Battery Storage for Peak Demand Avoidance

 

As net metering credits fade away, homeowners are realizing the importance of pairing their solar installations with battery energy storage. This allows them to store excess energy generated during the day and use it when energy demand is high, effectively avoiding expensive peak demand charges that typically occur in the afternoon.

 

Unlocking the Full Potential of Solar-Plus-Battery Systems

 

While solar-plus-battery systems are primarily seen as a way to store and self-consume energy, they can also play a vital role in stabilizing the grid. By integrating these distributed energy resources with HVAC systems and home appliances, homeowners can help smooth out demand fluctuations, ensuring more stability in electricity markets and eliminating the infamous "duck curve".

 

Leveraging VPPs for Added Value

 

To coordinate these distributed resources effectively, Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) have emerged as a solution. By participating in a VPP, homeowners with rooftop solar and battery systems can maximize the benefits of their resources and even get paid by a VPP administrator.

 

Case Study: Enphase and VPPs

 

One company leading the way in this field is Enphase. Their home battery, the IQ Battery 5P, has recently gained approval for enrollment in VPP programs in three major markets. California PG&E customers, Long Island PSEG customers, and customers in various other markets can now earn additional revenues from their clean energy assets. Here's how it works:

 

California: Pacific Gas & Electric's Emergency Load Reduction Program

 

By enrolling their batteries in PG&E's program, California homeowners can earn $2 per kWh from PG&E for the electricity stored in their batteries. This stored energy helps reduce demand on the grid during peak load periods, which typically occur on hot summer days between May and October. The program schedules between 20 and 60 event hours during each season. In total, homeowners can expect to earn between $100 and $250 per year, translating to $2,500 to $6,250 over the 25-year lifespan of their rooftop solar array.

 

Long Island, New York: PSEG's Battery Storage Rewards Program

 

PSEG's program offers an upfront incentive to homeowners who install battery storage. Installers provide a minimum of $250 per kWh of usable battery capacity, with a cap of $6,250 per household. For example, homeowners with two IQ Battery 5Ps offering 10 kWh of usable capacity will receive a $2,500 discount from their Enphase installer as part of the program. In return, customers agree to let PSEG use the electricity stored in their batteries to reduce demand during peak electricity use periods, which occurs around 10 times per year. Power sharing under this program happens automatically, providing homeowners with ongoing benefits.

By participating in VPPs like these, homeowners can ensure they make the most of their solar-plus-battery systems, both financially and in terms of contributing to a more stable and sustainable grid.  

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