Small Utility Deploys Energy Storage in Customer’s Homes

August 17, 2015 By Linda Hardesty

SunvergeThe Glasgow Electric Plant Board (EPB) in Kentucky is installing Sunverge‘s energy storage devices during times of peak demand.

The municipally-owned utility, which serves a town of 14,000, will install the Sunverge system in 165 homes, providing utility-grade storage at individual homes along with cloud software to manage the storage. The devices will capture power from the electric grid at night or when demand and cost are lower. When demand peaks and costs are higher, the utility will order the batteries to release that power and distribute it to its customers, reducing the need to supply additional power from traditional generating plants.

“Glasgow is our first customer to use distributed storage without solar to create significant network value,” said Ken Munson, co-founder and CEO of Sunverge Energy. “While many of our installations are in tandem with the use of solar panels, our technology offers the same reliability, cost savings and emissions reductions regardless of the source of the power.”

The installations also have the potential to provide a reliable source of backup electric power to customers should storms or other events disrupt service on the grid.

Detailed, real-time insights about the local grid’s performance, available power and consumers’ energy use inform how the storage assets are dynamically aggregated and controlled in an orchestrated manner by grid operators. This allows the Glasgow EPB to deliver energy to the grid as if from a single, fleet-level Virtual Power Plant (VPP), not unlike a large solar energy or energy storage project, except that it is now at the point of load.

The Glasgow team includes partnerships with University of Louisville Research Foundation; Move the Peak; Virtual Peaker; and Strata G. This collaborative team designed the project to study techniques for reducing power production during periods of peak demand by using stored power more effectively. The homes involved in the Sunverge project also use ecobee smart thermostats and GE energy efficient hot water heaters, which work in harmony with EPB’s need for peak load control.

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