Photo: minoru karamatsu/Flickr
“Concrete jungle” New York City is about to get greener. Starting this summer, utility Con Edison and sustainable energy company SunPower will be teaming up to offer solar power systems with battery storage to over 300 homeowners in Brooklyn and Queens.
Announced last week, the pilot program is part of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative, whose goal is to integrate renewables into the state’s power grid. Billed as a “power purchase type lease agreement,” participants will lease solar panels from SunPower, paying an additional monthly fee to have Sunverge Energy battery systems connected to the SunPower setup. The panels will collect solar energy on sunny days, with that energy being used to reduce users’ daily home electricity costs and provide backup power for essential load appliances.
Of course, the program will benefit Con Edison and SunPower as well. Once the solar and energy storage systems are all set up, they’ll form a “virtual power plant” with over 1.8 megawatts of solar power and 4 megawatt hours of battery storage — the largest residential-distributed energy system in the US. The companies see the system ultimately supplying power to the grid during peak usage periods, reducing Con Edison’s need to use traditional non-renewable power sources to meet demand.
“The integrated solar and storage approach enhances value to the grid by providing a dispatchable renewable power source that Con Edison can control and rely on in real time,” explains Matthew Ketschke, vice president of distributed resource integration at Con Edison, in a release.
The chart below is a visual representation of that idea — while solar energy production varies from day to day depending on the weather, fluctuations can be managed by using storage solutions like the Sunverge Energy battery systems:
Chart: Con Edison
So far there’s been no word on how Con Edison customers have reacted to news of the program, but New Yorkers do have a demonstrated interest in solar power. According to Quartz, more people in the city installed residential solar panels in 2014 than in all other years combined — the publication speculates that may be part of the reason Con Edison and SunPower chose to pursue their initiative.
Con Edison customers interested in taking part in the program can find more information here. There is no upfront cost, and the plan is for the program to run for several years.