sonnen launches virtual power plant program in New York county


Two-hundred homeowners in Westchester County, N.Y., have a new path to solar + battery storage via the sonnenCommunity New York Virtual Power Plant (VPP) program. sonnen will be the exclusive hardware and software provider for the program, offering systems at a discounted rate in an initial pilot phase. Sustainable Westchester, a non-profit administering Westchester Power Program and the largest community choice aggregator (CCA) in NY, will act as a premier partner for this project, working with sonnen and local solar contractors to build a dispatchable grid asset which will provide homeowners with resilient backup power and revenue for participating in the New York energy market.

Quest Solar and SunBlue Energy, two regional contractors and installation partners, will take the lead in implementing this program locally, pursuing new and retrofit sales of rooftop solar and sonnen ecoLinx systems among eligible homeowners throughout Westchester County.

Virtual power plants are an innovative way to grow a more distributed, resilient grid that benefits both homeowners and the local utility. The sonnenCommunity NY VPP subscription program offers qualifying new and existing solar customers:

  • Solar plus sonnen ecoLinx storage installations via a third-party, investor-owned subscription or direct ownership.
  • NY State tax credits, where eligible.
  • Lower annual energy costs.
  • Safe, reliable backup power and energy security during outages.
  • Protection from changes in solar net-metering, time-of-use rates and demand charges.

Further, the program offers residents the opportunity to establish a cleaner energy future for themselves and their neighbors by joining a broader effort to build clean energy infrastructure in New York. The network of residential solar plus sonnen batteries will deliver benefits by balancing the local electric grid, reducing outages and brownouts and lowering COemissions through decreased reliance on peaker plants.

“We understand that stand-alone residential solar is not sufficient – a distributed, modernized grid requires controllable, intelligent batteries paired with solar. What’s more, VPPs are invaluable resources that can replace the dirtiest “peaker” power plants with local renewable energy,” said Michel Delafontaine, Director of Business Development at Sustainable Westchester. “Fostering community engagement and inspiring environmental leadership are key tenets of our business model. With our involvement in the sonnenCommunity NY VPP, we’re able to deploy our knowledge of regional markets and municipal programs as well as our connections with local leadership to implement an innovative solution from sonnen that provides a clean, reliable energy future for our residents and community infrastructure.”

With sonnen’s innovative VPP software platform, Logical Buildings, a third-party scheduling coordinator and aggregator, can dispatch the planned 80MWh of ecoLinx batteries in the sonnenCommunity NY VPP for dynamic participation and revenue generation in the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) market. Forming a dynamic grid asset, batteries enrolled in the program can also provide demand response services to the local utility, ConEdison, including solar time shifting, reduced demand for peaking resources, grid decongestion during peak periods, and lower carbon emissions.

Based on the outcomes of the initial pilot with Sustainable Westchester, sonnen hopes to expand the project footprint into several Long Island communities, through a partnership with similar programs under development. The ultimate goal is to bring 5,000 new solar + storage units per quarter online in the sonnenCommunity NY VPP by 2024.

With the launch of the sonnenCommunity NY VPP and proven successes of existing solar + storage models in Utah, California, Arizona and Florida, sonnen is building the model for investing in controllable, distributed energy assets around the country.

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We have a ton video interviews and additional content on our YouTube page. Recently we debuted Power Forward! -- a collaboration with BayWa r.e. to discuss higher level industry topics as well as best practices / trends for running a solar business today.

Our longer running side project is The Pitch -- in which we have awkward discussions with solar manufacturers and suppliers about their new technology and ideas so that you don't have to. We discuss everything from residential rail-less deck attaching and home solar financing to large-scale energy storage value stacking and utility-driven new home solar + storage microgrids.

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