- Sunrun will network over 7,000 solar and energy storage systems installed in Puerto Rico to form a VPP with 17 MW capacity
- It will enable participant homes to generate and consume their own electricity while feeding stored energy to the grid, for which they will be remunerated
- Batteries will maintain adequate supply for homes in case of power outages
US based residential solar power company Sunrun will build a 17 MW virtual power plant (VPP) as the 1st distributed large-scale storage program on the island of Puerto Rico after it was selected by the local electricity utility for that job, as the island looks to solar to rebuild its energy system.
Sunrun said the project will bring together more than 7,000 of its solar with battery storage systems installed on homes to help ‘harden’ Puerto Rico’s fragile grid with reliable and abundant solar energy.
Consumers linked to this system will generate and consume this onsite clean energy and ‘strategically’ share the stored energy with the local grid for which they will be remunerated. Batteries enrolled in the VPP will continue to maintain an adequate backup for the participating homes in the event of potential grid outages.
It will bring down energy costs for all consumers and also provide a respite from growing pollution. Additionally, all customers with batteries can enroll for the VPP and will have the option to opt out any time during the 10-year duration of the program.
“We’re solving energy insecurity on the island by switching the model so that solar energy is generated on rooftops and stored in batteries to power each home, and then shared with neighbors, creating a clean shared energy economy,” explained Sunrun CEO Mary Powell. “That way, residents not only have control over their energy at home, but can also share power with their community and be compensated for it.”
By 2023, it will start enrolling customers into the VPP program and begin networked dispatches in 2024.
Back in 2018, in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, Sunrun entered Puerto Rico with its Brightbox home solar and battery to households. According to the US solar installer, its customers in Puerto Rico were able to access electricity through the extended outages as its solar+battery storage systems provided over 350,000 hours of backup power to thousands of homes when Hurricane Fiona struck the island in September 2022.
In October 2022, Sunrun announced successful completion of a season of its residential solar VPP for the New England region in the US with more than 1.8 GWh clean energy fed into the grid between June 2022 and August 2022 (see Sunrun Completes 1st Season Operating Residential VPP).
Among other efforts that Puerto Rico is making to strengthen its grid, in July 2022 it signed a power purchase and operating agreement with Convergent Energy+Power for a 100 MW solar and 55 MW BESS system, with commercial operation date of 2024 (see 100 MW Solar & Storage Project In Puerto Rico).