Sunnova expands virtual power plant network in six states and Puerto Rico

Sunnova residential solar-001

Sunnova Energy International continues to expand its energy services, announcing new an expansion of its virtual power plant (VPP) network, boosting accessibility in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, and Texas.

  • California – Power Grid Protect and Emergency Load Reduction Program
  • New York – Battery Reward incentive program
  • Northeast – Connected Solutions Demand Response Programs (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut)
  • Puerto Rico – Sunnova Flex Power Program through the LUMA Battery Emergency Demand Response Program
  • Texas – Adaptive Retail Energy Plan (ERCOT)

“Electricity demand is being driven to record levels and the power grid is not ready – but VPPs can offer critical help,” said William J. (John) Berger, Sunnova’s chief executive officer “We see VPPs as insurance for the grid, as they are ready now to provide power in times of need and tackle the impending challenges ahead of a constrained electric system. We are proud to be expanding our VPP service to help customers combat the skyrocketing price of electricity and shore up the grid in times of need.”

Sunnova’s customer base of more than 419,000 comprises an estimated 1-GWh of storage capacity. That is a valuable commodity against the backdrop of a struggling grid, and the pursuit to decarbonize our energy systems. A VPP does all of this while also compensating participating customers.

Sunnova’s VPP taps stored battery power during periods of peak demand – and in some cases send excess power back to the electrical grid – reducing strain on the grid and minimizing blackouts.

The clean power produced by Sunnova’s rooftop solar and battery storage customers helps offset the need for utilities to use heavily polluting traditional power plants during peak demand periods. In return for their demand battery response and contribution, customers are compensated for the power supplied by their batteries in most programs.

Sunnova’s VPP programs utilize its innovative energy management solutions and proprietary Sunnova Sentient™ technology platform, which optimizes energy management, enhances reliability and resiliency, provides demand response and grid support while providing additional revenue streams and offers greater energy independence for its network of customers

VPP in action | One recent example of Sunnova’s VPP leadership is demonstrated through the LUMA Battery Emergency Demand Response Program (BEDRP) in Puerto Rico. As the leading residential solar and battery storage services company in Puerto Rico, Sunnova currently manages more than 1,000 enrolled customers, where capacity of approximately 10 megawatt hours is provided to supplement LUMA’s resilience against outages.

By voluntarily participating in the program through the Sunnova Flex Power Program, Sunnova customers play an active role in bolstering the grid and supporting a reliable power supply for Puerto Ricans.

When the grid is under stress, Sunnova receives LUMA’s signal and discharges enrolled battery storage via the Sunnova Sentient platform, reducing grid demand, minimizing blackouts, and keeping the power on. As of March 2024, this Sunnova VPP has helped prevent five grid outages that could have potentially impacted several hundred thousand homes on the Island. The company’s VPP has also been used to provide additional reserve to the grid in moments when generation has been running below recommended reserves. Today’s announcement highlights how this success can be replicated across the country.

“Our customer base is rapidly expanding, and we’re at a pivotal moment in enrolling customers into VPPs,” said Michael Grasso, Sunnova’s Chief Revenue Officer. “This comes at a time when energy storage is increasingly becoming mainstream, and the delivery of grid services through our VPP is becoming an everyday activity. Sunnova is proud to be at the tip of the spear when it comes to these revolutionary VPP programs, and we’re proud to not only help our customers but to help improve the overall resilience of our country’s energy grids.”

“As policymakers begin to see the success of existing VPP programs nationwide, they are rapidly moving to establish and implement similar VPP initiatives with the goal of enhancing grid resilience and saving ratepayers money amidst surging energy demands,” said Meghan Nutting, Sunnova’s Executive Vice President, Regulatory and Government Affairs. “With an impressive 24% battery attachment rate among new customer originations last quarter, our growing number of customers are primed to participate in VPP programs as they come online.”

— Solar Builder magazine




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