Sunnova Energy International Inc. has embarked on two initiatives to advance energy resilience and grid stability in Puerto Rico. The company announced plans to expand its virtual power plant (VPP) platform to the island, as well as its selection by the U.S. Department of Energy to receive a portion of a $440 million investment to install rooftop solar and batteries in vulnerable single-family households across Puerto Rico.
Expanding Sunnova Sentient VPP Platform to Puerto Rico to participate in LUMA’s Customer Battery Energy Sharing (CBES) Program.
Sunnova is expanding its Sunnova Sentient VPP platform through the Sunnova Power Flex Program, in partnership with LUMA’s CBES program in Puerto Rico. This groundbreaking effort is poised to transform the role of distributed solar and storage customers in enhancing grid stability during peak demand periods, all while offering them financial incentives for their participation. Through voluntary enrollment in the Sunnova Flex Power Program, customers will actively contribute to the strengthening of the grid, ensuring a dependable power supply for the people of Puerto Rico.
“As we continue to spearhead the transition towards a cleaner and more robust future, extending our VPP platform will not only help reshape the energy landscape in Puerto Rico but also empower our valued customers to play an integral role in bolstering grid stability,” said William J. (John) Berger, CEO of Sunnova. “We eagerly anticipate the transformative impact this program will have on our customers and the Puerto Rican community at large.”
During periods of grid instability, typically when existing power plants are struggling to meet high demand, Sunnova’s VPP operations team will respond to dispatch signals, dispatch enrolled customers’ batteries using Sunnova’s VPP platform, and deliver energy and resiliency to the grid. LUMA’s CBES initiative makes this possible by sending the correct price signal to Sunnova customers to participate and by also sending the correct dispatch signal to Sunnova to operate its VPP platform. Sunnova customers will maintain resiliency and energy independence and their batteries will never be dispatched immediately ahead of predicted hurricanes or severe weather, ensuring stored power supply will be protected and available for their homes.
With more than 52,000 solar and storage customers, totaling an installed storage capacity of 800 MWh, Sunnova boasts the largest customer base of distributed solar and battery storage installations in Puerto Rico.
In return for battery response and contribution, customers will be compensated for the power supplied by their batteries. This approach not only incentivizes customers to embrace renewable energy solutions but also creates a mutually beneficial situation whereby the grid is strengthened, and participating customers receive an additional financial benefit from their systems. A single battery may be able to earn up to $1,000 for this first pilot year depending on how many times a battery is dispatched.
Selected by the DOE’s Grid Deployment Office as part of a $440 million investment from the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund.
Sunnova was selected by the DOE’s Grid Deployment Office as one of the eight organizations to receive part of a $440 million commitment to install rooftop solar and batteries in vulnerable single-family households across Puerto Rico through the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund (PR-ERF). This funding seeks to support the installation of up to 40,000 residential systems. The primary goals of this initiative are to enhance energy resiliency, ensuring a continuous power supply during extreme weather events, while simultaneously creating thousands of local clean energy jobs. This investment aligns seamlessly with President Biden’s vision of affordable energy for all Americans and Puerto Rico’s ambitious goal of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Sunnova has worked to improve its customer service infrastructure in Puerto Rico, including the establishment of a call center with more than 35 dedicated service representatives, a 400% increase in its workforce since 2022 and a pledge to address most service claims within 24 hours. Additionally, Sunnova’s Global Command Center in Houston allows the company to monitor the entire U.S. customer fleet, use predictive analytics for early incident detection, and dispatch service technicians within 24 hours in many major markets, ensuring prompt and effective issue resolution.
Through these initiatives, Sunnova continues to provide Puerto Ricans with a steadier and more reliable power supply, while empowering its customers to make energy-conscious decisions that benefit both themselves and their communities.
— Solar Builder magazine