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 (OATI), a provider of grid operations software.
By sending bundled clean energy stored in Sunrun Brightbox home battery systems to the electricity grid on O’ahu, Sunrun and OATI will form one of the largest residential “virtual power plants” in the world and help power Hawaii’s most populated island with clean, distributed energy.
Beginning in 2020 and continuing through at least 2024, Sunrun and OATI will send the energy generated by rooftop solar panels and stored in approximately 1,000 Brightbox home batteries on O’ahu to the electric grid during times of high electricity demand when called upon by Hawaiian Electric. Sunrun’s Brightbox battery systems will also send stored solar energy to the grid when there is high energy demand or high risk of power outages, safeguarding against blackouts and providing reliable, stable power to O’ahu residents.
“This is a landmark moment for Sunrun, for Hawaii, and the future of energy in our country,” said Sunrun co-founder and CEO Lynn Jurich. “This program is a clear demonstration that rooftop solar and batteries are driving the creation of a more locally-powered energy system, and provide important value to customers, utilities, and the broader electricity grid.”
“We are excited to have Sunrun join with OATI to provide real-time aggregation of behind-the-meter solar and battery storage assets,” said Dr. Sasan Mokhtari, president and CEO of OATI. “Together, OATI and Sunrun will work cooperatively with Hawaiian Electric to bring Hawaii’s consumers a greener future and also exemplify how this new power system operations model can positively link utilities, grid service suppliers and end customers.”
This project is an example of networked home solar and battery systems providing electricity and services to the grid while customers receive compensation for participating. By valuing these local clean energy resources in the same way as larger, centralized sources of energy, the project signals a transformation toward an electricity system powered by local, distributed energy and also opens new revenue streams for Sunrun and OATI.
The program opens a new revenue stream for Sunrun and OATI, which will earn compensation from Hawaiian Electric for managing and dispatching the networked home solar and battery-stored energy to the grid. Sunrun customers who participate in the program will also receive credits on their electricity bills for delivering the energy stored in their Brightbox home battery systems to the grid as a virtual power plant. By earning credit for this type of distributed energy generation, Sunrun will be able to further improve its home solar and battery product offerings to customers in Hawaii.
“Home solar and batteries mean peace of mind for me and my family. I’m excited about the ability to extend the benefits of home solar systems to my entire community,” said Anthony Aalto, Sunrun’s first Brightbox battery customer on O’ahu.
Earlier this 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, 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. Now, Sunrun and OATI’s participation in Hawaiian Electric’s Grid Services Program builds on this momentum and further demonstrates the value of local clean energy resources as a valuable resource to electric utilities.
News item from Sunrun