SolarCity offers services for utilities and grid operators

Written By: Stratton Report
May 5, 2016

Solar City Main

On May 5, SolarCity announced it had introduced a new set of services for utility and grid operators, including installation, financing, and consulting services for utility-scale solar and energy storage resource development, and advanced controls for demand response, distributed energy resources, and aggregated grid services.

For utility-scale solar projects, SolarCity offered to manage the entire process from financing and design to installation, advanced controls, optimization, and system maintenance. The firm will lock in solar energy rates contractually for years into the future, protecting the utility and customers from volatile fuel prices.

SolarCity also offered what it termed dispatchable utility-scale energy storage, including capacity services which combine solar and energy storage to avoid capacity charges and manage peak load more cost effectively than traditional fossil fuel-based solutions.
SolarCity’s offered to use portfolios of aggregated distributed energy resources to enable grid planners and operators increased flexibility and resiliency as they work to modernize the grid.

According to the firm, its DER portfolios are available to perform grid services such as dynamic capacity and peak shaving, flexible ramping, frequency regulation, voltage and reactive power support, grid visibility and more, all managed through the company’s software and control platform. In addition, DER portfolios can offer increased reliability and resiliency by deploying energy storage to provide backup power during routine outages.

Acccording to SolarCity, its utility customers include Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) where SolarCity installed a 12 megawatt (AC) utility-scale solar array, and is currently implementing a solar and storage facility with a 13 megawatt (AC) solar array and 52 megawatt-hour battery system.

A second utility customer is Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative (CMEEC) which is working with SolarCity to deploy 13 megawatts (AC) of solar coupled with 6 megawatt-hours of battery storage across a portfolio of sites throughout Connecticut.

Finally, Southern California Edison has partnered with SolarCity in a pilot to demonstrate the value of aggregated DER portfolios. SolarCity is working with several additional utilities to utilize DERs for grid services as well.