SolarEdge, an Israeli company making solar energy equipment, has invited thousands of Britons who own its home storage batteries as part of their solar power systems to join together in the U.K.’s first virtual power plant.
Last fall, British regulators gave permission to the nation’s electric system operator to offer financial rewards to homes and businesses that volunteer to reduce their electricity use during peak demand periods.
SolarEdge’s new plan offers financial incentives to solar power system owners to draw on their batteries during those peak periods, in effect creating a grassroots power plant.
Those who have “export meters” can send electricity into the grid and make money for doing that as well.
TRENDPOST: The concept of a widespread virtual power plant is simple and requires nothing more than some management software and additional electrical fittings to participating buildings.
However, the idea of electricity coming from somewhere other than the grid remains foreign to most of us.
The U.K. is one of the best places to test the concept of a widespread virtual power plant: home electric bills there almost tripled from an average of £764 in 2021 to about £2,000 in 2022 as natural gas prices went into outer space.
As home solar and other renewable electricity sources proliferate, virtual power plants will gradually become a new norm over the next 20 years.