In Utah, Soleil Lofts signed an initial agreement with Rocky Mountain Power, which could exploit batteries as a source of electricity. According to Wasatch Group, the Utah developer who built and managed the apartments, the layout saves the utility costs incurred while helping the owner to save money.
The Wasatch operator sees the virtual power plant as proof that the battery is a smart investment for building owners.
Ryan Peterson, president of Wasatch Assurance Capital, the firm’s investment and real estate unit, said: “VPPs provide a source of income and make this a more attractive property to rent. “One of the reasons we’re looking at renewables and solar is that it lowers operating costs and increases cash flow, a big problem for property owners.”
The Soleil project comes at the intersection of a number of trends: transition to cleaner, renewable energy; According to the Boston Consulting Group, the cost of batteries and stored energy is falling rapidly, having fallen by almost 80% in the past decade; and the developers’ push to reduce their environmental impact.
Battery storage energy in the United States increased significantly last year, adding 476 megawatts of storage in the third quarter, up 240 percent from the previous quarter, according to the U.S. Energy Storage Watch.
But it’s nowhere near what is needed to support a fully renewable energy system. A report by the University of California, Berkeley, explores the transition to renewable energy shows that the United States will need 150 gigawatts of storage to reach 90 percent of the clean energy grid by 2035.
“We’re at a crossroads,” said Mark Dyson, clean energy expert at RMI, a Colorado organization focused on sustainability. “As prices have come down so much, especially for batteries, I hope more and more new homes will incorporate these technologies. Virtual power plants are the cheapest and most valuable thing to build next for the US power system ”.