Type to search

Featured General Biz News

Sunrun’s ‘PowerOn Puerto Rico’ program enrolls 1,800 customers

The company’s solar-plus-storage systems help the island avoid rolling blackouts.

Sunrun, a provider of clean energy as a subscription service, has enrolled nearly 1,800 customers, totaling more than 2,000 batteries, in its PowerOn Puerto Rico virtual power plant.

The program has been providing reliable energy from solar-plus-storage systems to the island’s energy grid since last fall. Sunrun is the largest participant in Puerto Rico’s Battery Emergency Demand Response Program and will soon become the first aggregator to compensate customers for their participation, according to the company.

“After experiencing frequent and extended power outages, I added solar and batteries to my home with Sunrun and was happy to get rid of the noisy, polluting generator,” said San Juan resident Kristoffer Koster in Sunrun’s news release. “We also want to be part of the larger solution for our friends and neighbors, which is why we quickly signed up for PowerOn Puerto Rico.”

When Puerto Rico’s electric utility provider, LUMA Energy, anticipates a power supply shortfall, Sunrun’s battery fleet simultaneously dispatches stored solar energy from enrolled customers’ batteries to stabilize the grid, Sunrun said.

The company’s battery fleet contributes more than 15 megawatt-hours to support LUMA’s grid while reserving an average of 40% of the storage capacity for personal backup at each customer’s home, the Sunrun explained.

“The resilience of the people of Puerto Rico is truly remarkable. They consistently step up to help their community by sharing their stored solar energy and improving energy reliability for everyone,” said Sunrun CEO Mary Powell.

“LUMA has already called upon Sunrun a dozen times since last fall to activate our virtual power plant, with several of those being emergency events — meaning outages were imminent. It’s incredible to be part of a program that’s making an immediate positive impact,” she added.

After several years of development, Sunrun partnered with LUMA at the end of September 2023 and began enrolling customers in PowerOn Puerto Rico. Sunrun customers are compensated for their participation while the energy they share helps avoid blackouts and the use of polluting, fossil fuel peaker power plants.

Dealing with ongoing power shortfalls
After Hurricane María dismantled the island’s centralized electric grid in 2017, Puerto Rico moved to build a more distributed and resilient energy system that empowers residents to generate their own clean energy, the company recalled in its release.

A key program supporting that transition is net energy metering, which was recently extended by the island’s legislature and governor, allowing households to continue receiving credit for the energy they export to the grid.

Sunrun and LUMA expect that there will be between 50 and 125 events per year that will require Sunrun’s fleet of enrolled systems to provide on-demand energy. Individual customers will be compensated for each power-sharing event, the company assured.

As an example, Sunrun said that even if there are only 75 events, which is on the lower end of what the grid operator anticipates, customers would earn an average of $550 and the company will earn fees for managing the participation.

“We want to give back to the community,” Koster said. “That’s the spirit of Puerto Rico — taking care of each other. This program allows us to take ownership and be caretakers of the grid.”

“Sunrun customers’ batteries create a power plant that helps keep the lights on for all Puerto Ricans without polluting or requiring land and years of costly construction,” said Chris Rauscher, Sunrun’s head of Grid Services. “Sunrun has a proven track record of successfully operating virtual power plants across the country that have repeatedly shown that residential solar-plus-storage is a dependable resource that can be quickly aggregated to meet increasing energy demands and keep utility costs down for all ratepayers.”

Pointing to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s warning that a growing number of areas face resource capacity or energy risks over the next decade, Sunrun emphasized that its virtual power plant programs, such as PowerOn Puerto Rico, are designed to helping “utilities match power production with increasing customer demand to prevent rolling blackouts.”

Author Details
Author Details
This content was produced by News is my Business staff members. Send questions, comments, and suggestions to [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *