SunPower customers can earn rewards by managing electricity usage during peak periods as part of a virtual utility partnership with OhmConnect.
SunPower has partnered with OhmConnect to offer its customers the opportunity to join virtual power plant (VPP) programs.
In select California markets, homeowners with the mySunPower app can participate and earn rewards for managing their electricity usage, especially during peak grid demand when utility bills are at their highest. The service balances the electricity grid and offers solar and energy storage customers the opportunity to get value from their system.
SunVault battery owners can manage their stored electricity with OhmConnect, which tracks prices and demand in real-time and helps customers reduce energy consumption during these peak times. The SunVault system is set to automatically send power from the homeowner’s battery during peak grid demands, while maintaining a fixed amount of energy to meet the home’s energy needs.
“With the rise of virtual power plants, it’s much easier for household customers to get rewarded for helping us make the grid more resilient. Our partnership with SunPower allows OhmConnect to expand the ecosystem of homes that harness the energy they generate to stabilize an increasingly vulnerable grid,” said Cisco Devries, CEO of OhmConnect.
“The companies plan to expand into other markets this summer,” said Ellen Kinney, chief digital officer at SunPower. “VPPs are poised to go mainstream as battery storage becomes easier, energy prices continue to rise, and the grid is constantly overloaded by fires, heat waves and even rain.”
OhmConnect is a free service available to households with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). California residents can sign up through the mySunPower app, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) has focused on VPP contracts because the availability of debt financing for foreign technology has been a bottleneck for deployment. According to Jigar Shah, director of the US Energy Loan Program Office
“A VPP is a virtual combination of distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar power, energy storage, electric car chargers and demand-responsive devices (such as water heaters, thermostats and appliances), Shah said. “VPPs do more than provide carbon emissions and grid services – they provide grid -operators increasingly a large-scale and utility option for the new generation and system building with automated efficiency, capacity support and non-wired options.”
LPO recently granted a $3 billion conditional loan to Sunnova to provide loans to low- and middle-income customers nationwide for VPP services.
“By using grid resources more efficiently, the pooling of distributed resources lowers the cost of electricity for everyone, especially VPP participants,” Shah said.