Aiming for 70 percent clean energy by 2030, companies are conducting a pilot on household-scale virtual power plant technology to integrate more rooftop solar and storage.
FREMONT, CA: A device in each home optimizes the provision of power to the grid, and also grid services. For instance, four houses in Colorado with solar plus storage are now operating as virtual power plants. In every home, a controller device manages solar, storage, an electric vehicle charger, and heat pumps for hot water and space heating. The controller in every home has an embedded algorithm that receives information from the grid on voltage, frequency, and power flows and uses it to direct the operation of the five distributed devices. Shortly, price signals will also be sent to the controller to help guide their decision-making.
The project will help accommodate rooftop solar systems deployment, including newer methods that include storage, and modulate when a PV system puts power into the grid. The technology being tested will also help advance towards reaching 70 percent clean power by 2030. The capability to control distributed solar and storage is allowing increased levels of the resources on the grid.
The utility’s advanced distribution management system leverages the Multispeak protocol to send data to the upstream communications module of the Heila EDGE controller. All of the data is fed into an algorithm that sends following directions for the Heila EDGE controller to monitor the household’s devices. The Heila EDGE controller then transmits those directions to the household devices.
The algorithm regulates the optimal local power flow amidst the household’s devices, and transmits the start and stop commands, or modifies real and reactive power set points in each device to deliver the level of grid services demanded, in the most optimal way. For a solar or storage device to work on this system, it must be interoperable with other devices.
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