California has cleared the way for homes and businesses to sell their stored electricity into the grid at a profit, thanks to new legislation that allows the aggregation of distributed energy for trade on the state’s wholesale electricity market.
According to Renewable Energy World and Bloomberg New Energy Finance:
Companies including utilities will be able to consolidate the output of rooftop solar systems, batteries and even plug-in electric vehicles, the California Independent System Operator Corp. said Thursday in a statement. The shift demonstrates that small-scale power sources are becoming a more critical part of the state’s energy mix.
“This is an important win for California energy users,” said Ken Munson, chief executive officer of Sunverge Energy, which aggregates power from solar panels and batteries installed at homes and businesses. “It paves the way for consumers to play a more active role in the generation and distribution of the energy we use every day.”
As a global leader on many fronts, California’s decision will certainly have implications far beyond its borders. As rooftop solar, electric vehicles and energy storage begin to proliferate and grid management software and communications become more sophisticated, more and more places will look to bring their electricity infrastructure into the modern age.
Although such a bold, overarching framework for aggregation of distributed generation has not yet been put into place here in Australia, a pilot program for the the public trade of aggregated distributed generation (in particular, solar-plus-storage) is already underway on the eastern seaboard’s National Electricity Market. The project – undertaken by Australian startup Reposit Power in conjunction with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) – features six grid-connected homes equipped with solar-plus-storage systems – all selling their excess electricity into the grid at a premium.
If all goes well with Reposit’s pilot – and energy storage takes off in Australia as virtually everyone expects it to – it’s only a matter of time before every Australian home becomes an electricity market player.
Top image: Solar PV resource map of California, via NREL/US Department of Energy
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