Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 23rd October
Renewable energy and grid solutions provider Swell Energy Inc. contracted with Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) to develop the Community Grid Program designed to provide additional capacity and resource adequacy to Humboldt County. Swell’s Distributed Power Plant (DPP) effort with RCEA will establish up to 45 MWh of behind-the-meter solar powered energy storage, bringing essential power reliability to a region hard hit by wildfires and public safety power shutoffs in recent years.
To quickly build a solar and energy storage customer base in the region, Swell is expanding its partnership with GRID Alternatives and leveraging all government, utility, and financial programs available to bring down customer costs and enroll both new and existing systems into the Community Grid Program.
Residential, commercial, and industrial solar+storage sites located at a customer’s site can be eligible to participate in RCEA’s Community Grid Program. Swell is having success delivering zero cost energy storage to communities most in need in 2020—including low income and medically vulnerable customers as well as native tribes—through California’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). It enables Swell to offer additional monetary incentives to SGIP customers in the RCEA territory. Humboldt county energy users that want the benefits of renewable power reliability and bill savings while simultaneously supporting energy resilience in their community can sign up to participate.
Swell partners with a diverse group of utilities and organizations in key markets to rapidly deploy and aggregate distributed energy resources. In other areas of California, Swell is working with Prosper Sustainably, Direct Relief, Sierra Club chapters, Tribal Governments, Independent Living Resource Center Inc., and other groups to promote solar and storage adoption and a carbon neutral energy future. The RCEA project fits into the utility’s broader strategic plan, which includes deploying renewable customer-sited distributed energy and storage resources.
“RCEA is excited to be working with Swell and GRID to bring state and local incentives for energy storage to Humboldt County agencies, homes, and businesses,” said Matthew Marshall, Executive Director of RCEA. “The battery storage systems installed under this program can provide customer bill savings and grid benefits during normal daily operations but will also serve critical energy needs during power outages.”
“By teaming up with RCEA on the development of a regional DPP, we are able to bring the core benefits of batteries and incremental value to local residents and businesses,” said Suleman Khan, CEO of Swell Energy. “We’re facilitating energy resilience among vulnerable regions and communities and expanding the impact of renewable energy resources to the local grid—affording homeowners and small commercial customers additional benefits for participating in grid services programs, while bringing greater energy reliability and environmental benefits to the broader region.”
Since 2019, Swell Energy and GRID Alternatives have collaborated throughout California to deliver energy security through residential and commercial energy storage projects to communities in need and will now bring these capabilities to the RCEA service territory. Moreover, the partnership with GRID Alternatives includes workforce development programs that teach energy service trades, like solar installation, to community members to empower youth and build skill sets in a growing industry.
“Battery storage technology and solar job training in underserved communities creates resiliency in the face of climate-related disasters and shut-offs,” says Paul Cleary, Executive Director of GRID San Diego. “GRID Alternatives is excited to partner with Swell Energy to bring these new technologies and workforce programs to tribal and other environmental justice communities.”
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