Enphase launches pilot to pay US solar customers for leasing batteries, sharing energy
Homeowners who participate in a new Enphase pilot project will connect their home batteries to the US grid, sharing energy through Green Mountain Power’s distribution system in exchange for financial incentives.
The new era of the power grid may be characterised by large power plants and sprawling transmission lines, but also by local, flexible energy sources. This is the vision that venture capitalist Bill Nussey outlines in “Freeing Energy.”
He sees billion-dollar opportunities for innovators that can reimagine how energy is created, stored, and delivered. This new grid concept is already underway, and the latest example is the collaboration between Vermont utility Green Mountain Power and energy storage specialist Enphase.
The two companies have said that Green Mountain Power will offer Enphase batteries at a significant discount in a pilot lease program. Enphase will provide 100 eligible customers with two Enphase IQ Battery 10 units for US$65 (AU$86) per month for 10 years, or for a single payment of US$6,500 (AU$8,600). That cost does not include installation. Homeowners benefit from reliable backup power, while also sharing stored energy during times of high demand to help reduce overall costs for all GMP customers.
“With the new IQ8 microinverters, our customers will be able to easily expand their home battery system over time, giving them even more peace of mind about their energy future. This partnership allows the homeowners, local contractors, and utilities to use Enphase’s state-of-the-art technology to help create a more reliable, affordable, and cleaner grid for all of Vermont,” said Liam Madden, director of solar energy at HB Energy Solutions.
Green Mountain Power has another virtual power plant offering, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. Under BYOD, upfront payments of up to US$9,500 (AU$12,600) are offered depending on the capacity of the systems enrolled. Green Mountain Power said homeowners that retrofit an existing solar system in one of the areas of the state where battery power is needed most may be eligible to receive an extra US$100 (AU$130) per kilowatt.
Program participants will be enrolled for a term of a minimum of 10 years. The Enphase batteries are lithium ferro-phosphate (LFP) chemistry batteries, which the company said provide a long life cycle and better safety through thermal stability. They are equipped with a feature to seamlessly power up air conditioners and well pumps in the event of grid power loss. The batteries come with a 10-year limited warranty.
Enphase is also launching Grid Services Manager, a distributed energy resource management system that Green Mountain Power will use to manage the virtual power plants. Enphase said it plans to offer this software to utility grid managers and distributed energy resource aggregators in the future.