August 2020 is a month many Californians will probably prefer to forget. Wildfires, heat waves and power outages highlighted the state’s continuing need to diversify, even after years of pioneering leadership in the field of energy.
Two companies recently announced a joint venture that will help the state fill that need.
On August 27, Wasatch Energy Group, Logan, Utah, and Sonnen, Tucker, Ga., announced plans to develop a virtual power plant fleet that will service residences throughout the state with clean, distributed energy and storage.
The project will be funded by $130 million in capital from the Wasatch Energy Group, which is part of the Wasatch Group of companies, a real estate development, property management and guaranty capital company.
The fleets will be powered by solar panels and backed up by battery storage. Panels will be installed on Wasatch-owned apartment buildings in seven communities around the state.
Power generated by the panels will be stored in batteries by Sonnen. The Sonnen ecoLinx intelligent battery storage systems will be capable of communicating with each other, allowing them to act as a single, virtual power plant for the apartment communities where they are installed to maximize energy efficiency among the units and within the surrounding grid.
The first virtual power plant (VPP) will be installed at the 417-unit Heron Pointe apartment community in Fresno, Calif. Retrofit work is scheduled to begin this month.
The Wasatch VPP Fleet I and II will be installed on approximately 3,000 apartment homes, providing 60 megawatt hours of energy storage capacity and over 24 megawatts of power capacity.
When it is completed next year, Wasatch says it will be “the largest apartment-community-based VPP fleet in the world.”
The Wasatch Group and Sonnen previously partnered to develop the groundbreaking Soleil Lofts VPP, a 600-unit solar and storage-equipped apartment community in Herriman, Utah, which is now being used for utility grid management by the local utility, Rocky Mountain Power Inc.