SunPower Corp. said it will launch a virtual power plant program that will let energy storage customers who use its SunVault system to be paid for allowing the local utility to use stored energy during peak demand.
SunPower said it will coordinate charging and discharging customers’ batteries, while keeping some electricity in reserve for backup power to the home. Participating customers will be told ahead of time that their battery will be discharged and can choose to bypass or pre-set their system so their reserve does not fall below a certain level. In return, customers are expected to be paid by the utility for the use of their stored energy.
SunPower’s first offering is called ConnectedSolutions and will be marketed to customers served by Eversource and National Grid in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
The SunVault battery uses lithium iron phosphate chemistry and is available in 13 kWh and 26 kWh sizes.
Customers will be able to participate during their local utilities’ virtual power plant season, which runs from June through September each year. SunPower will pass through all grid payments to participants. The company said participants can earn “hundreds of dollars” per year through the program.
In October, SunPower said it would double down on its residential business and weigh options for its Commercial & Industrial Solutions business, including new ownership.
As part of its focus on residential, the company acquired residential solar provider Blue Raven Solar for up to $165 million in cash. The move is intended to help SunPower expand in the Northwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Blue Raven currently books more than 90% of its volume in 14 states. Those states account for around 5% of SunPower’s sales. SunPower said this creates “a significant net-new geographic coverage opportunity.”