National Grid picks SolarEdge’s ESS inverters to join peak reduction scheme in New England

Image: Andy Colthorpe.

SolarEdge’s StorEdge inverters have been deemed eligible for a programme rolled out by National Grid in the US states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island encouraging customers to help reduce peak demand on local networks.

National Grid, in its ConnectedSolutions programme offers customers on its network an incentive in the form of rebates on equipment purchases that can be used to participate in the so-called ‘bring-your-own-device’ scheme.

In other words, energy usage and production by resources installed at customer homes are coordinated in order to help mitigate constraints on the network when demand peaks. At present, there are programmes for battery energy storage and for thermostats.

Aggregated together, the devices can form an important balancing resource for the network, analogous to many of the roles played by conventional fossil fuel systems in a type of virtual power plant. Our video feature ‘What solar can really do’, filmed with SolarEdge’s kind cooperation at this year’s ees Europe show demonstrates some of these features. Essentially, the utility sends a signal to battery systems to charge or discharge from the grid as needed to balance the network.

National Grid rolled out ConnectedSolutions in 2016, making batteries eligible last year. At present, the company lists the following providers as participants: Sunrun, Tesla, Pika Energy (which has a tie-in with Panasonic in the US residential market) and SolarEdge, while Sonnen is listed as ‘coming soon’ on the site at the time of this story going to press.

In summer months in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the utility said it could call on batteries during June and September for the summer period, expecting peak period to cover from 2pm until 7pm, with events lasting no longer than three hours and no more than 60 times during those months. Conversely, in winter, batteries in Massachusetts could be called on for events lasting up to three hours, between 2pm and 7pm between December and March, but no more than five times during the whole period. National Grid does not list provisions for calling on batteries in winter in Rhode Island.

SolarEdge emailed today to say that customer systems with both new and already-installed StorEdge inverters will be eligible for the financial incentives, with participating devices connected to the programme via SolarEdge’s “centrally managed grid services platform”.

“This program enables National Grid to provide affordable and additional types of energy to customers to help meet energy demand peaks… By improving the payback for solar-plus-storage systems and encouraging higher volumes of installations, the program offers benefits to both system owners and PV installers,” a SolarEdge statement read. 

Lior Handelsman, company founder and VP for marketing and product strategy at SolarEdge, added that “National Grid’s leadership in supporting distributed renewable energy resources demonstrates how the energy market is undergoing a strategic transition.”

“SolarEdge’s fleet of pre-installed StorEdge inverters are helping us successfully kick off this program and its many qualified installers will also assist in adding new participants in order to significantly increase the program’s reach,” National Grid VP of customer solutions John Isberg said.

Also this week, reported on ESS industry player AES Corporation’s strategic partner role in Uplight, a new DERs technology company from Tendril, also reporting on a DERs software launch from Smarter Grid Solutions and DERs hardware product launches from ABB. 

SolarEdge meanwhile plans to roll out its first-ever own-branded residential energy storage systems, leaning on the technologies and manufacturing capabilities of battery maker Kokam, which it recently acquired. 

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