The day has arrived: Emera Technologies LLC officially launched its new utility-owned residential energy system BlockEnergy. Emera Technologies is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a $32 billion energy company based in Canada, serving approximately 2.5 million utility customers in Canada, the U.S. and the Caribbean. We were given the exclusive to talk about this technology, its development and the company’s plans in bits and pieces the past few months. I’ll point you back to this feature of the Kirtland Airforce Base microgrid, the “New Grids on the Block” feature in our Summer issue of Solar Builder, and this episode of The Pitch with the CEO.
But now it is officially commercially available, and is ready to roll out in its first new home development. Coinciding with the launch, BlockEnergy announced a partnership with Lennar Homes and Metro Development Group for the Medley subdivision within the Southshore Bay master-planned community in Tampa, Florida. It consists of 40 new Lennar homes, all powered by BlockEnergy. It will be the first residential deployment of the BlockEnergy platform in the U.S. Each BlockEnergy BlockBox sits beside the home and will be custom color-matched to the main, exterior wall so it sits naturally within the residential neighborhood, while delivering superior energy reliability and resilience.
“A year ago, we were introduced to the team at Emera Technologies who gave us an advanced look at BlockEnergy. Needless to say, it caught our attention and here we are a year later ready to launch our new project. Now, we have the first community in the nation to be deployed with BlockEnergy at Southshore Bay using an advanced community microgrid. This dovetails perfectly with the innovation of Metro Places communities. As a true, 21st century developer, we are committed to bringing some of the most innovative technologies and world-class amenities to our growing portfolio of communities,” said Kartik Goyani, VP of Operations at Metro Development Group.
The utility territory for Southshore Bay belongs to the Tampa Electric Co, (TECO), which serves over 780,000 customers in the region. “Our TECO team is excited to assess the potential of BlockEnergy by installing this new community power system in the Medley community at Southshore Bay,“ said Nancy Tower, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric.
How It Works
BlockEnergy is a modular, turnkey power system that capitalizes on battery storage, power electronics and the lowering cost of renewables. Combined, these emerging innovations form the first utility-focused business model for rate-based, distributed energy to be owned and operated as a utility asset. The result is a flexible, scalable, distributed power platform that’s able to seamlessly interoperate with the grid.
Each home in a community has four levels of energy assurance: rooftop solar, local battery storage, community generation and storage and the capability for interoperability with the grid. Paired together, BlockEnergy delivers advanced power security and maximum reliability. The technology powering BlockEnergy is able to connect to the local, utility grid without interruption. All of these connections joined together result in the most reliable power available today.
Operating as a mesh network, BlockEnergy puts new homes on resilient, renewable energy at the community level in loops of up to 50 homes at a time. As communities grow, BlockEnergy neighborhoods are simply linked together, leaving no stranded assets, now or in the future.
Designed to meet new load growth, BlockEnergy integrates with the AC system, able to seamlessly disconnect and run autonomously with very little supervisory control required by the utility. It uses an advanced control platform and algorithm to optimize the movement of energy around the system. BlockEnergy represents the first of its kind — a front-of-the-meter energy solution able to be deployed today to meet new residential loads.
Have you checked out our YouTube page?
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.