Renewable power and energy storage are teaming up to help the country combat global warming in many ways.
Just outside of San Francisco, communities are making contingencies against the growing risk of wildfires.
Last month, San Francisco-based Sunrun announced it had signed agreements with three Bay Area energy suppliers. Those agreements contract the solar service provider for solar and battery backup power for nearly 6,000 homes.
Sunrun signed exclusive partnerships with East Bay Community Energy. Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Peninsula Clean Energy. The three community choice aggregators (CCA) provide power to residents in Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, respectively.
Community choice aggregation allows local governments to collectively generate or purchase clean and low-cost power alternatives for their residents. PG&E is the major utility for the area. It partners with the CCAs to deliver the electricity through its transmission and distribution system.
The Bay Area aggregators sought options to help increase the use of clean, affordable energy while also providing backup power to more of their customers. The need arose last year, after PG&E implemented preemptive power shutoffs that affected hundreds of thousands of customers throughout California. The blackouts were a precaution against wildfire risk. The utility has incurred billions of dollars in damages and liabilities as a result of devastating wildfires in its service territory. The wildfires were determined to have been caused by faulty equipment and poor maintenance by the utility.
Sunrun will provide solar energy and backup power over the next three years in areas that are vulnerable to emergency power shutoffs during wildfire season. More than 10% of the homes to be serviced will be considered low-income households. Eventually, the partnership is expected to result in more than 13 megawatts of home-sited capacity resources.
The project has additional benefits. The resources can also be networked together to build virtual power plants that will help reduce peak power demand and help stabilize the region’s electrical grid.