Swell Energy, a residential energy storage developer and aggregator, was founded on the belief that homeowners will play a central role in enabling a clean energy future. Now, this idea has received a big endorsement from California’s second-largest utility, Southern California Edison (SCE).
Last month, SCE announced the winners of its second Preferred Resources Pilot (PRP), a program intended to demonstrate how clean, distributed energy resources can benefit the grid. Instead of building new fossil generation to replace recently decommissioned nuclear and natural gas power plants, SCE is looking to the market for innovative solutions, including behind-the-meter energy storage, energy efficiency, demand response, and solar photovoltaics. According to SCE’s Caroline McAndrews, the PRP’s director, “The need for electricity in this area is increasing, and we want to meet those new needs with clean energy resources.”
Among the select group of winners, SCE tapped Swell Energy for 5 MW of firm demand response from residential energy storage. Limited information has been disclosed about the project until now.
Through this new partnership with SCE, Swell will install and aggregate the largest network of dispatchable residential batteries announced to date. The project will include more than 3,000 homes in Southern California, each equipped with an advanced lithium-ion home battery, together totaling over 20 MWh of stored energy. By comparison, the cumulative capacity of residential energy storage installed in the US through the end of 2015 was approximately 10 MWh. The fleet of home batteries will act as a distributed power reserve for SCE. During moments of peak demand, the batteries will take participating homes partially or fully off of grid energy, reducing SCE’s reliance on expensive fossil fuel peaker plants.
Swell won the Southern California Edison PRP bid with a program designed to provide benefits not only to SCE and the local grid, but also to the participating homeowners. In exchange for joining Swell’s virtual power reserve, homeowners who participate in the program will receive a fully installed home battery system for no money down, and monthly payments which may be partially or fully offset by energy bill savings and grid participation revenues from Swell. Participating homeowners will experience the peace of mind that comes from having a backup power system in the event of a blackout. When paired with solar PV, homeowners will also be able to generate and use their own clean energy, even at night and during power outages. Additionally, Swell’s energy app will enable participants to monitor and control the use, storage, and generation of electricity in their home.
Swell Energy is thrilled to be working with utilities such as SCE to craft win, win, win programs that benefit homeowners, utilities, and society, by advancing a more sustainable and innovative model of energy. Swell’s mission is to make the relationship between homeowners and utilities collaborative. This pilot program signals the beginning of a new era, in which homeowners can pro-actively contribute to a clean, distributed energy system that strengthens our power grid and enables the integration of increasing amounts of renewable energy.
News item from Swell Energy