Puerto Rico’s Fragile Grid to Get Boost from Virtual Power Plant Technology

Sunrun Inc was selected to develop a 17-megawatt electricity generation project in Puerto Rico that harnesses excess battery power from its residential solar customers

Puerto Rico has some of the most expensive and least reliable energy of any US jurisdiction.
By Jim Wyss
November 02, 2022 | 09:09 AM

Bloomberg — Sunrun Inc was selected to develop a 17-megawatt electricity generation project in Puerto Rico that harnesses excess battery power from its residential solar customers.

The California-based company will begin enrolling households into what is known as a virtual power plant, or VPP, next year and begin dispatching power in 2024, it said in a statement Tuesday.

VPPs link together backup batteries that are often connected to residential solar panels. This will allow Sunrun to sell excess energy gathered from its existing 7,000 customers back to the grid during peak demand and power outages.

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The project is part of a broader effort to make Puerto Rico’s grid more flexible and durable. Puerto Rico has some of the most expensive and least reliable energy of any US jurisdiction. Island-wide blackouts are common, even in the absence of hurricanes. The long-running power woes have spurred the growth of residential solar power while the island has struggled to bring industrial-scale renewable projects online.

The deal, which was approved by the governing board of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or Prepa, still requires a greenlight from the local regulator and the federally appointed body that oversees the US territory’s finances.

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