Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is partnering with Swell Energy to be the aggregator for a new residential customer-driven virtual power plant initiative, the My Energy Optimizer Partner+ program. My Energy Optimizer Partner+ will launch enrollments in Q1 of 2023, with operations planned to start in April 2023. Enrollment will be open to both new and existing solar and storage customers.
The initial effort will bring 20 MWh and 10 MW of renewable capacity to the utility by recruiting, installing and aggregating capacity from customers’ battery storage systems located in SMUD’s service area. The program has the opportunity to scale to 54 MWh and 27 MW over the term of the partnership.
Currently, there are approximately 600 customer-owned energy storage systems in SMUD’s service area, with an additional 400 in the interconnection process and thousands more projected over the next several years.
Swell Energy is no stranger to such deals. Around this time last year, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced a deal with Swell to expand residential participation in their respective Capacity Bidding Programs, and Southern California Edison (SCE) turned to Swell to balance energy on the grid across a number of different scenarios and use cases.
“Our collaborative virtual power plant will provide real-time energy management and synchronized battery dispatch across SMUD’s customer base, enabling large-scale renewable deployment and minimizing the need for conventional power plants in the region,” said Suleman Khan, CEO of Swell Energy. “We believe this model is a beacon for how municipal utilities and other publicly owned utilities can achieve scale and value with distributed energy resources.”
VPPs | The virtual power plant program aggregates residential solar and battery storage systems in a centralized manner to reduce carbon emissions and make the electric grid more renewable, resilient, and reliable. SMUD’s My Energy Optimizer Partner+ program lets customers enable their individual systems to work alongside many others to aggregate and dispatch renewable energy sources to the benefit of entire communities.
Participating My Energy Optimizer Partner+ customers will receive both upfront and ongoing compensation, or GridRevenue, based on the size of their solar and energy storage systems.
“As more SMUD customers add solar panel systems paired with battery storage solutions, they’ll be better able to manage their own energy needs while making meaningful contributions toward reducing their community’s carbon footprint,” said Lora Anguay, Chief Zero Carbon Officer of SMUD.
SMUD also says it has committed to funding batteries for low-income customers in the service area through local non-profits such as Grid Alternatives.
— Solar Builder magazine