SAN FRANCISCO (June 16, 2020) — Sunrun Inc. (Nasdaq:RUN), the nation’s leading home solar, battery storage and energy services company, and Southern California Edison (SCE), the largest utility in Southern California and one of the largest in the country, today announced they are working together to launch one of the first residential energy storage virtual power plants in operation in the United States.
Beginning this month and continuing through mid-2021, Sunrun and SCE will network up to 300 of Sunrun’s Brightbox home solar and rechargeable battery systems across Southern California to demonstrate how clean energy stored in Sunrun Brightbox rechargeable solar battery systems can provide peaking capacity to the electrical grid for Southern California residents. The virtual power plant will provide a resilient, clean source of energy at times when electricity is needed most, such as during a hot summer day and other times when there is high demand for energy. Families with Sunrun’s Brightbox rechargeable solar battery systems will also have access to reliable backup power to keep their lights on and food fresh during outage events.
The partnership between Sunrun and SCE will demonstrate how residential rooftop solar and batteries support California’s ongoing transition to clean, reliable, locally-generated electricity.
“California is leading the way to 100% clean energy for all. We’re excited to work with SCE to bring the benefits of Brightbox rechargeable solar batteries to more Californians through this innovative partnership,” said Lynn Jurich, Sunrun co-founder and CEO.
“As we continue to decarbonize the power grid it is essential that we find innovative solutions enabling clean, affordable and reliable service,” said Jill Anderson, SCE’s Senior Vice President, Customer Service. “The Virtual Power Plant will help us understand how home battery systems can perform similar to single large capacity energy sources to benefit all customers.”
The program unlocks additional value for both Sunrun and Sunrun customers. Homeowners will earn an incentive for participating in the program, and Sunrun will generate revenue by managing and dispatching the networked home solar and battery-stored energy to the grid when SCE calls an event to meet local grid operational requirements.
Clean energy produced from rooftop solar panels is stored in Sunrun’s Brightbox rechargeable solar battery throughout the day. If there is an outage, Brightbox provides backup electricity to the customer’s home and enables them to power through the event 24/7, with the battery recharging every time the sun comes up. Customers have the choice to back up everything from their entire home to simply essential appliances, depending on the type and number of batteries they choose. The virtual power plant will only make use of this battery capacity on the grid when the customer is not relying on it for backup.
Virtual power plants are being increasingly embraced as technology evolves and utilities and grid operators see the value afforded to the electricity system by residential solar and battery storage.
In 2019, Sunrun won a historic bid to deliver bundled home solar and battery power as a source of energy capacity to ISO New England, the grid operator for one of the largest electricity markets in the United States. In July 2019, Sunrun was awarded a landmark contract by the East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) board of directors to help replace the retiring jet-fuel Oakland Power Plant in Oakland, California with home solar and battery systems on low-income housing in West Oakland and Alameda County. Sunrun announced last August it will participate in Hawaiian Electric Company’s emerging grid services market by delivering electricity from home solar and batteries to the utility as part of an innovative Grid Services Purchase Agreement with Open Access Technology International, Inc. (OATI).