Texas Community Virtual Power Plant Will Use SolarEdge’s Energy Bank Battery Storage

Tenants of the Houston building will be able to subscribe to benefit from the site’s solar power as well as access to its battery storage during outages. Image: PearlX/SolarEdge.

Texas households in rented accommodations will be able to subscribe to a solar-plus-storage virtual power plant (VPP) equipped with SolarEdge hardware and cloud-based software services.

The equipment will provide tenants of an apartment building in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood with clean, low-cost energy as well as resilient power in the event of grid outages and other causes of outages.

Meanwhile, power generated from solar PV and stored in units of the SolarEdge Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) will be available to local utilities to pool and store. aggregate to support the network, especially during peak periods.

Revenues from utility use of the systems will also further reduce costs for residential program subscribers.

Called Project TexFlex, it was started by PearlX, a company that deploys community solar power and storage in multi-family communities, in partnership with SolarEdge.

Perhaps best known as a manufacturer of smart solar inverters and power optimizers with a high market share in the US residential market, SolarEdge has expanded its offerings in recent years to encompass clean energy solutions. end to end.

This includes the SolarEdge Energy Bank home battery storage system, which launched in October last year. The power bank will be used in the TexFlex project, along with SolarEdge’s Energy Hub inverter hardware and the company’s software for grid services, enabling what PearlX describes as real-time aggregate control management based on Cloud and Distributed Energy Resource (DER) pool reports.

The project is very small compared to other virtual power plant aggregations that are starting to appear in the United States and the rest of the world – there are only 14 apartments in the Montrose building – however, PearlX has signed an agreement with Moonlight block developer Interests, to expand the solution and offer it to other multi-family real estate properties in Texas.

It’s also one of the first such projects in the state, and PearlX highlighted the role it could play in events like the Texas winter storm last February, when widespread power outages caused a major energy crisis in freezing temperatures.

PearlX also claimed that a “creditless” subscription method it uses for such projects can expand tenant subscribers to access solar and battery storage benefits without adequate credit ratings. That could unlock the market for low- and middle-income renters in multi-family communities, the company said.

“Solar power and especially storage has traditionally been a convenience for the wealthy. If you don’t have good credit, you don’t have access to it. Credit is the ability to repay. Electricity is the ability to live,” said PearlX CEO Michael Huerta.

“We believe that paying for electricity is the highest form of credit. When you look at the data, electricity bills are paid before rent, cell phone bills, even car payments. »

PearlX and SolarEdge have created what could be a decentralized VPP model that could be widely replicated, the companies claimed, providing guarantees against grid outages and providing consumers with cost-effective and reliable energy while accelerating Texas’ transition to a clean energy.

From there, it will roll out to California and several other US states later this year, the companies said.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) partner for the TexFlex project will be Texas-based Native Solar, with design and engineering support from SolarEdge. The interconnection is expected to be completed with utility company CenterPoint Energy in the first quarter of this year.

Virtual power plants deployed in multiple regions

Other recent and ongoing VPP projects and offers reported by Energy-Storage.news in the past few months alone, efforts have been made in Australia, California, Hawaii, New York, Arizona, New England and the PJM Interconnection service area.

These include:

Sunverge’s 0.55 MW / 2.2 MWh VPP aggregating home battery systems in Cecil County, Maryland, USA, which will be the first of its kind to participate in PJM Interconnection’s wholesale market ancillary services .

Project Symphony in Western Australia, a VPP pooling the resources of 500 homes and businesses in an area with high rooftop solar usage, supported by funding from the state government and the Australian National renewable energies (ARENA).

US residential solar installer SunPower is offering VPP registration to customers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Participants could earn “hundreds of dollars a year,” SunPower said.

VPP specialist Swell Energy, which has more than 300 MWh contracts to complete utility projects in Hawaii, New York and California, is partnering with energy storage technology provider Sonnen to establish a network that can reach 45 MWh of aggregated systems in Utah.

US residential solar company Sunnova and distributed energy resource platform provider AutoGrid are creating a scalable VPP solution for California community energy provider Clean Power Alliance (CPA).

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