Microinverter supplier Enphase Energy has been selected by US utility Green Mountain Power (GMP) to supply its home battery system for a virtual power plant (VPP) programme.
The programme offers GMP customers the option of leasing the storage system, buying one outright or enrolling an existing system. In both cases, the programme will require customers to agree to share access to their batteries to help the grid during periods of peak demand.
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Under the lease agreement, Enphase will supply 100 eligible GMP customers with two Enphase IQ Battery 10 units for ten years for either US$65 per month or a single payment of US$6,500 (excluding installation costs).
The second option for entry into the scheme is for GMP customers to buy an Enphase Energy System outright or enrol an existing system into the utility’s ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) grid services programme.
The BYOD programme pays participants a one-time upfront incentive of up to US$9,500 for four Enphase IQ Battery 10s, and an extra US$100/kW for solar system retrofits in areas where battery power is needed the most. Customers will be able to monitor the storage’s participation in the grid using the company’s in-house app.
Josh Castonguay, GMP vice president and chief innovation officer said: “Our growing network of stored energy continues to deliver savings for all customers, helping cut carbon and costs. Expanding this groundbreaking work with another pilot programme will allow more customers to access storage technology, while increasing the savings through a shared network of neighbour helping neighbour.”
Vermont-based GMP said that its existing network of shared stored energy reduced about US$3 million in costs for all customers in 2021 by cutting power demand during energy peaks.
The IQ Battery 10 is a residential storage solution using lithium iron phosphate chemistry (LFP). It has a power rating of 3.84kW, an energy capacity of 10.09kWh and a peak output power of 5.76kVA.
Concurrent with the announcement, Enphase is also launching a distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) called the Grid Services Manager which GMP will use to manage VPPs with Enphase.
The company adds that Vermont homeowners can now install its IQ8 solar microinverters which eliminates sizing restrictions on pairing an IQ Battery with the IQ8 solar system.
“We’re proud to work with Green Mountain Power on this program to offer Vermont homeowners Enphase IQ Batteries and IQ Microinverters,” said Dave Ranhoff, chief commercial officer at Enphase Energy.
“Our industry-leading software and hardware make building and deploying virtual power plants easier than ever. And none of this would be possible without the professionalism and experience of our local installer partners, who all offer a best-in-class experience for our mutual customers.”
Enphase Energy primarily sells microinverters but its storage segment is growing strongly and expects to ship 110-120MWh of storage in the first quarter of 2022.
Software is an increasingly important offering for energy storage solution providers across segments but especially in emerging technology solutions like DERs and VPPs. The potential of these programmes to leverage behind-the-meter storage and power assets onto the grid is huge, and so any platform which performs well has the potential to scale exponentially.
VPP specialist Swell Energy recently launched its own DERMS platform after winning VPP contracts amounting to 300MWh of storage and has raised US$450 million to scale. Other groups with DERMS platforms like Autogrid and Leap collectively raised over US$100 million late last year.