SolarCity, SunSpec Alliance Partner on California Smart Energy Home Pilot Project

SolarCity said it has partnered with SunSpec Alliance and Southern California Edison (SCE) on a smart energy homes demonstration project.

The project will determine how smart energy homes, through a combination of numerous distributed technologies, can be deployed and aggregated to advance the evolution of the electrical grid.

SolarCity plans to install rooftop solar PV, batteries, controllable thermostats and smart inverters on 50 homes in SCE territory.

As part of the project, SolarCity said it will aggregate the portfolio of the 50 homes to provide distribution grid support and ancillary services into the California ISO wholesale market.

“We plan to demonstrate the magnitude of benefits that smart energy homes, made of numerous aggregated technologies, can offer to customers, the distribution grid and wholesale markets,” Ryan Hanley, senior director of grid engineering solutions, SolarCity, said in a statement. “We are pleased to partner with the SunSpec Alliance and its member companies on this important project.”

SunSpec Alliance received a $2 million grant award from the California Energy Commission (CEC). Project participants, including SolarCity, will provide another $2 million in match funding. CEC selected the project in its competitive bid process for the program opportunity notice “Advancing Cleaner, Less Costly, More Reliable Distributed Generation to Enable Customer Solutions and Zero-Net Energy Communities.”

“Smart Distributed Energy is here to stay,” Tom Tansy, chairman of the SunSpec Alliance, said in a statement. “The combination of advanced inverters, solar PV and energy storage – bound together using open source standard communication protocols – will deliver an array of benefits to all Californians. This project is a wise investment that will decrease energy costs, improve grid infrastructure at lower cost, and open up new opportunities across the energy industry.”

The CEC made the grant award under the solicitation’s project group to evaluate advanced inverter functionality and interoperability to enable high-penetration distributed PV.

Project team members include SunSpec Alliance member companies ABB, Enphase, Ideal Power, KACO, OSISoft, Outback, SMA, SolarCity, SolarEdge, and Underwriter’s Laboratory; as well as strategic partners Olivine, Strategen, and the University of California, San Diego.

Lead image: Hand holding tablet with smart home application. Credit: Shutterstock.

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