New York-based Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R) and Sunrun Inc. (Nasdaq:RUN) have received approval to deploy rooftop solar and battery systems as part of an innovative virtual power plant project supporting New York’s transition to clean, reliable, locally generated electricity.
Beginning this year, Sunrun will bundle rooftop solar energy stored in more than 300 Brightbox battery systems and deliver it to the electricity grid when called upon by O&R. O&R and Sunrun’s implementation plans were accepted by the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) last Friday. By bundling and coordinating the energy stored in Sunrun’s Brightbox home battery systems, Sunrun will form a virtual power plant to partially offset demand on O&R’s electricity grid in key areas, while providing clean, reliable, locally-generated solar power to residents in Orange and Rockland counties.
The program identifies new ways for Sunrun’s Brightbox home battery systems to create value for the electric grid, enabling Sunrun to earn compensation from O&R for managing and dispatching the networked home solar and battery-stored energy. O&R will in turn benefit by leveraging these local resources to reduce electricity load on O&R’s heavily used distribution system in these areas. By participating in this program, O&R customers will gain access to clean energy provided by Sunrun’s home rooftop solar and Brightbox battery storage systems at a discounted rate.
Virtual power plants are growing in popularity as utilities and grid operators increasingly see the value afforded to the electricity system by residential solar and battery storage. Sunrun and O&R’s initiative builds on this momentum and further demonstrates the value of local clean energy resources as a resource for electric utilities.
O&R Vice President– Operations Francis W. Peverly said, “This initiative will help our customers to incorporate new technologies and assist in maintaining efficient, resilient, reliable and sustainable electric operations.”
“New Yorkers know all too well the importance of resilient and reliable electricity. Through our initiative with O&R, we are excited to bring the benefits of Brightbox home solar and batteries to more New Yorkers while helping build a cleaner, more resilient electricity system,” said Lynn Jurich, Sunrun co-founder and Chief Executive Officer.
Clean energy produced from rooftop solar panels is stored in Sunrun’s Brightbox battery throughout the day. If there is an outage, Brightbox provides backup electricity to the customer’s home and enables them to power through the night until the following morning when the sun rises and recharges the battery. Customers have the choice to back up everything from their entire home to simply essential appliances, depending on the type of battery they choose.
O&R will begin reaching out to its customers in select areas in the coming months to inform them of the opportunity to adopt Sunrun’s Brightbox solar-powered battery system.
As a community-based company, O&R is very mindful of its customers’ continuing anxiety as New York begins to re-open its cities, town and villages in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic’s stay-at-home orders. O&R’s and Sunrun’s efforts to market this new program are dependent on the re-opening’s progress. Even then, in the month ahead, initial marketing activities will be conducted by mail, telephone and internet. No one will come to your home about this program unless you invite them. If you do invite them over, company representatives will follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) health guidance, including masking and maintaining a social distance.
Last year, Sunrun won a historic bid to deliver bundled home solar and battery power as a source of energy capacity to ISO New England, the grid operator for one of the largest electricity markets in the United States. In July 2019, Sunrun was awarded a landmark contract by the East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) board of directors to help replace the retiring jet-fuel Oakland Power Plant in Oakland, California with home solar and battery systems on low-income housing in West Oakland and Alameda County. In August 2019, it was announced that Sunrun will participate in Hawaiian Electric Company’s emerging grid services market by delivering electricity from home solar and batteries to the utility as part of an innovative Grid Services Purchase Agreement with Open Access Technology International, Inc. (OATI).
About Orange & Rockland
Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R), a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, is a regulated utility. O&R provides electric service to approximately 300,000 customers in southeastern New York State (where its franchise name is Orange & Rockland) and northern New Jersey (where it’s Rockland Electric Company) and natural gas service to approximately 130,000 customers in New York.
Sunrun Inc. (Nasdaq:RUN) is the nation’s leading home solar, battery storage, and energy services company. Founded in 2007, Sunrun pioneered home solar service plans to make local clean energy more accessible to everyone for little to no upfront cost. Sunrun’s innovative home battery solution, Brightbox, brings families affordable, resilient, and reliable energy. The company can also manage and share stored solar energy from the batteries to provide benefits to households, utilities, and the electric grid while reducing our reliance on polluting energy sources.