Green Mountain Power has announced a new program to partner with customers to reduce costs during high energy use times. During peak times such as cold winter nights or hot summer days, GMP will share access with customers’ home or business battery storage systems, rather than purchasing expensive surplus power. In return, GMP will issue credits to customers based on the amount of energy transferred from the customer’s battery to the grid. The monthly credit starts at $14.50. This is one of the first “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) programs using batteries to be offered by a utility, and provides value to the people or private companies who sell and install the batteries, the customers who sign up, and all customers GMP serves.
“This is so important as we partner with customers on a new energy future that is home-, business-, and community-based and leverages the latest innovations in grid modernization to drive down costs and provide value for all customers,” said Mary Powell, GMP CEO. “Battery storage is a meaningful part of that energy future.
“Green Mountain Power has been sharing energy with customers through our distributed energy resource platform for some time,” Powell explained. “We call the new program ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) because customers can now purchase any compatible batteries through any source and still receive credits on their bills. Of course, more importantly, they’re helping to keep costs down for all energy users.”
The BYOD program allows customers to find new ways to obtain backup power in a cost-competitive way, while participating in GMP’s grid transformation efforts to benefit all customers. For example, GMP customers can install battery storage with Waterbury-based solar energy company SunCommon and then share access to the storage with GMP to drive down costs for all. SunCommon is an enthusiastic participant in the BYOD program.
"Vermonters are excited to store a little sunshine for a stormy day and SunCommon is ready to help them do just that," said James Moore co-founder of SunCommon. "Energy from the sun can power our lives and build vibrant communities. Solar storage and GMP's innovative program brings this bright future one step closer. Kudos to GMP for their vision and support of local clean energy."
Jessica Edgerly Walsh, Director of Marketing at SunCommon, explained how it would work: "For our most common battery setup - combined with our low-interest financing, the federal incentive, and GMP's program - the homeowner pays nothing upfront and $20-25/month. For $20-25/month, a GMP customer contributes to a more resilient and lower-cost energy system - and enjoys back-up power the next time a major storm hits and power is out for days."
As for the type of system, she said: "Most often, our customers are choosing to install a single-unit Tesla Powerwall 2, connected to their solar systems."
Another local company planning to participate in the program is Grassroots Solar, Inc in Dorset that designs and installs off-grid and grid tied solar and storage systems for homes and businesses in Vermont.
"I’m excited to see the BYOD pilot program from GMP. As we install more solar in Vermont, battery storage is now part of an energy management system and is going to be a key tool in modernizing our grid,” said Bill Laberge owner of Grassroots Solar, Inc. “Batteries with shared access can help the utility manage the grid and help customers pay for their investment. Now that’s a win-win situation."
As part of the program, customers will allow GMP access to their battery systems through internet connections. In order to receive bill credits, customers will allow GMP to discharge their batteries back onto the grid to drive down costs. GMP will make every effort to re-charge battery storage when adverse weather events are on the horizon so that customers can count on that back-up.
SolarEdge StorEdge Compatible Systems
If a customer is a net-metered customer, the credits generated from the battery storage system will be tracked separately from any solar credits generated. All rules and expiration requirements for solar credits will still apply.
The agreement between GMP and the customer will yield a monthly bill credit based on assumed value for each kW of storage capacity contractually available to GMP for a minimum duration of 3 hours at the full capacity rating. The minimum offer amount must be 2kW or greater with the maximum aggregate offer being 10kW for an individual meter.
Duration (Hours) Power Available to GMP Energy Available to GMP Monthly Bill Credit
3 2-2.9 kW 6-8.7 kWh $14.50
3-3.9 kW 9-11.7 kWh $22.00
4-4.9 kW 12-14.7 kWh $29.00
5-5.9 15-17.7 $36.00
An integration and communication fee of $2.50 per month will be added to each bill to cover the costs of the ongoing communications and software platform fee.
Peak events are anticipated to occur an average of 5 to 8 times per month for an average of 3 to 6 hours at a time.
Customers will be sent notification of a peak event, via a smart phone app or other electronic method, at least 4 hours in advance.
Minimize customer impact
GMP will take steps not to affect a customer’s device in a way that will negatively affect the customer.
For example, GMP will make adjustments when possible not to completely discharge a customer’s battery during a pending weather event that could cause outages.
Internet connection required
The device must maintain an internet connection at all times. Should the device become disconnected, GMP will notify the customer, and they will have 30 days to remedy.
For providing GMP access to your device you will receive monthly credits on your GMP bill. The amount of credit ranges based on different device factors, but starts at $14.50 a month.
What is an energy peak?
Energy peaks are the times when customers collectively use the most energy (for example, between 2pm and 6pm on the hottest days of summer). Energy peaks put a strain on the grid and GMP may have to pay premium rates to get power from other states during these times to cover the demand.
How does my device help?
By enrolling in the Bring Your Own Device program, GMP can use your connected device to move energy back onto the grid, or reduce the energy needed, to help minimize energy peaks.
Benefiting you and Vermont
For helping out, we give you a credit back on your energy bill. Also, minimizing energy peaks means reducing the highest costing energy. This means bringing rates down for all Vermonters.
For a link to more information about the program go to: https://greenmountainpower.com/bring-your-own-device/(link is external)
About Green Mountain Power:
Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and is partnering with Vermonters to improve lives and transform communities. GMP is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. GMP is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. In 2014, Vote Solar named GMP a Solar Champion. More information at: www.greenmountainpower.com(link is external). Connect with GMP on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GreenMtnPower.