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Power couple: Spruce Power, sonnen partner on residential energy storage, VPP plan

Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 08th April

Spruce Power, a Power-as-a-Service company with roots in energy efficiency and residential solar energy, signed a supply and partnership agreement with sonnen that will provide Spruce’s existing 50,000 residential solar customers a chance to add energy storage. In addition, the two companies plan on developing virtual power plant (VPP) projects in emerging distributed energy resource (DER) aggregation markets like New York and California that have programs to support the growth of behind-the-meter storage systems.

Just weeks after announcing the company’s expansion into integrated smart energy systems, the partnership sparks confidence in Spruce’s move into home power solutions.

“Spruce is partnering with sonnen to show how individual smart home energy systems and virtual power plants of networked, smart home energy systems can provide support to the local grid,” said Christian Fong, CEO of Spruce Power. “Spruce’s growth model involves moving beyond simply owning and managing solar assets to helping solar owners and the utilities that serve them optimize the value of those assets. Sonnen’s sophisticated software and deep expertise in home battery products, VPP models and proven project development make them the perfect partner for this.”

As part of the partnership, existing Spruce solar customers have the option to add sonnen’s newest offering, the sonnenCore home battery system, to their solar home. With a usable capacity of 10 kilowatt-hours, the sonnenCore provides homeowners with a reliable source of energy in the case of emergencies or blackouts, as well as the ability to extract electricity cost savings by managing time-of-use (TOU) charges.

Together with its partners, sonnen has already deployed more than 12.6 MWh of VPP projects built around the sonnen ecoLinx, which Bloomberg described as the “iPhone of batteries.” Going forward, Spruce and sonnen plan to develop VPP projects using behind-the-meter solar and retrofit battery customers in markets where DER aggregation opportunities are emerging.

“We chose to partner with Spruce Power because of their proven capability to build a robust network of existing home solar customers. As evidenced by their recent expansion into greater energy services, they have a clear understanding of the many ways we can create value for utilities, the grid and homeowners by adding batteries into their solar installation portfolio,” said Claudia Kolbinger, VP of Consumer Products at sonnen Inc. “By combining Spruce’s ability to build networks of clean energy homes with sonnen’s ability to manage energy and turn distributed assets into revenue generating VPPs, we can help actuate a clean, reliable and sustainable energy future for everyone.”

Home battery market growth is accelerating, buoyed in part by homeowners’ increasing concern about potential outages, such as preemptive power shutoffs on high fire-risk days in parts of California. The residential energy storage segment has seen seven straight quarters of record-setting growth and experienced its best quarter to date in Q4 2020 with a notable spike in residential installations that is expected to continue in 2021 and beyond, according to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables’ latest U.S. Energy Storage Monitor report. Sonnen is meeting this growing interest with innovative energy solutions that integrate seamlessly into any home to provide various energy management functions.

The partnership with sonnen represents a valuable next step in Spruce’s mission to support homeowners on their paths to establishing energy independence and realizing greater impact and returns on their distributed assets. Spruce customers can now use the company’s online Battery System Sizing Tool to determine the ideal size, configuration and backup duration for a home battery system upgrade, starting with sonnenCore.