Tesla Powerwalls are expected to power a giant new virtual power plant designed by Swell Energy in Hawaii.

Combined with solar, the battery packs are going to create a 80 MW/100 MWh distributed energy system.

Virtual Power Plant

A virtual power plant consists of connecting several small distributed energy assets, like residential solar panel systems and home battery packs, and using them together to provide larger grid services.

By pooling all that capacity, you can manage it more efficienctly and potentially retire fossil fuel-powered plants faster.

The concept has become more popular in recent years with the advent of home battery packs like the Tesla Powerwall.

One of the most famous virtual power plant projects is in South Australia where Tesla announced that it reached a deal with the government to install solar arrays and Powerwalls on up to 50,000 homes.

Swell’s VPP with Tesla Powerwall in Hawaii

Swell Energy is a long-time Tesla installation partner for the Powerwall, and they already have several virtual power plant (VPP) projects with Tesla Powerwalls on going.

Today, the company announced that it reached with Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a new massive VPP project:

“Swell Energy, Inc. today announced that the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved its $25 million contract with Hawaiian Electric for the delivery of various grid services through an aggregated “virtual power plant” (VPP) on three islands. Swell Energy, a California-based energy and smart grid solutions provider, will deploy behind-the-meter solar-powered home batteries to approximately 6,000 residential customers to create a comprehensive VPP on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii islands.”

Suleman Khan, CEO of Swell Energy, commented on the announcement:

“An agreement of this scale and scope was required to support Hawaiian Electric’s clean energy goals across the three islands. Providing this level of capacity and ancillary services establishes a new standard for virtual power plants and builds on Swell Energy’s deployments across the mainland United States. This fleet of dispatchable energy resources benefits the utility and allows customers to save money and come together to form a more resilient grid,”

This new project will join Swell’s other VPP projects, like those in Orange County, Santa Barbara, and Redwood Coast, which also all use Tesla Powerwalls, but it is expected to become its biggest virtual power plant to date.

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