New York Solar Goes Virtual: Con Ed, SunPower, and Sunverge Collaborate to Bring Solar to the City
By: Meghan Boland, Esq.
Con Edison, SunPower and Sunverge recently announced a $15 million virtual power plant partner on a pilot program to offer solar power systems with battery storage to more than 300 New York homeowners in Brooklyn and Queens. This Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) project is meant to explore the revenue streams made possible by software-enabled aggregation of energy storage. The aggregation of hundreds of homes with solar power and battery storage will provide the utility with a cost-effective and innovative “virtual power plant,” providing participating homeowners with a backup system in case of an outage while also supplementing the traditional energy delivery model to improve grid resiliency, reliability and sustainability. Although the initial filing was submitted in July, 2015, this announcement marks the green light for the project to launch this summer.
This partnership will represent the largest residential distributed energy storage program in the U.S. In the Q1 2016 Report, Con Ed anticipates that “[i]n Q2 2016, the Connected Homes Platform will launch to ~270k electric and dual-fuel Con Ed customers in Westchester and Brooklyn… The Web Portal with Marketplace functionality will be available to customers in June 2016.” Con Ed will initially own the storage systems, with a goal of gathering 1.8 megawatts/4 megawatt-hours of capacity to serve as a “clean virtual power plant.” Each home will be outfitted with a 7-kilowatt to 9-kilowatt rooftop PV system and a 6-kilowatt/19.4-kilowatt-hour energy storage system. In addition to the utility-facing grid services, the installation provides homeowners with backup power for essential loads in the home.
Con Ed will be able to link the hundreds of solar-plus-storage systems together into a “virtual power plant” that can act as a local generation resource to supply power to the grid during peak usage periods. Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) integration will provide remote monitoring and control, allowing Con Ed to forecast and optimize the performance and reduce the need for the utility to rely on traditional non-renewable power sources to meet peak demand.
Other firms like Stem, Green Charge Networks, Sonnen, Advanced Microgrid Solutions and Panasonic are also pursuing this aggregated energy storage application.
Con Ed residential homeowner customers who are interested in participating in the program can find more information here: http://solar.sunpower.com/asp-nystorage
 “Con Edison “Virtual Power Plant” Program Combines Solar and Storage to Improve Grid Resiliency” SunPower (June 13, 2016), [hereinafter “SunPower”] http://newsroom.sunpower.com/2016-06-13-Con-Edison-Virtual-Power-Plant-Program-Combines-Solar-and-Storage-to-Improve-Grid-Resiliency.
 SunPower, supra note 1.
 Case No. 14-M-0101 “REV Demonstration Projects: Quarterly Progress Report”, conEdison (May 2, 2016) Sec. 2.1.4.
 14-M-0101 “REV Demonstration Project Outline Clean Virtual Power Plant”, conEdison (July 1, 2015).
 “New York’s Con Ed Is Building a Virtual Power Plant From Sunverge Energy Storage and SunPower PV” Green Tech Media (June 12, 2016) [hereinafter “Green Tech”] http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/New-Yorks-ConEd-Is-Building-a-Virtual-Power-Plant-From-Sunverge-Energy-Sto.
 SunPower, supra note 1.
 Green Tech, supra note 5.