On-Site Storage Reduces Emissions and Power Bills in Kentucky

Sunverge Solar Integration System
The Sunverge Solar Integration System (SIS) combines storage batteries, power electronics, and system-management software running in the cloud.
Sunverge Energy

The Glasgow Electric Plant Board in Kentucky is installing Sunverge Energy’s smart energy storage devices as part of the utility’s effort to significantly reduce emissions during times of peak demand for its customers in southern Kentucky. The innovative Demand Response Program is expected to reduce peak demand by 25 percent, lower carbon emissions, and lower customers’ power bills.

The municipally-owned utility, which serves a town of 14,000, turned to Sunverge Energy to help reach its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 25 percent. The Sunverge system, to be installed in 165 homes, provides utility-grade storage at individual homes along with software “in the cloud” to manage that storage. The devices will capture power from the electric grid at night or when demand and cost are lower. When demand peaks and costs are higher, the utility will order the batteries to release that power and distribute it to its customers, reducing the need to supply additional power from traditional generating plants.

Ken Munson, co-founder and CEO of Sunverge Energy, noted, “Glasgow is our first customer to use distributed storage without solar to create significant network value. While many of our installations are in tandem with the use of solar panels, our technology offers the same reliability, cost savings and emissions reductions regardless of the source of the power. Glasgow is a pioneer and should serve as a model for other utilities that serve rural or isolated communities, where intelligent storage can play an important role when generation options are limited and where there are frequent weather-related power disruptions.”

The Sunverge Solar Integration System (SIS), a distributed energy storage and management appliance, comprises storage batteries, power electronics, and system-management software running in the cloud. The modular system is designed to lower costs, increase energy reliability, strengthen the grid, and accelerate the adoption and integration of distributed renewable energy.

In addition to reducing the emissions that would be created by peak generation at those plants, the Sunverge systems also reduce the cost of generating that power, resulting in savings to customers. The installations also have the potential to provide a reliable source of backup electric power to customers should storms or other events disrupt service on the grid.

Detailed, real-time insights about the local grid’s performance, available power and the consumer’s energy use inform how the storage assets are dynamically aggregated and controlled in an orchestrated manner by grid operators. This allows the Glasgow EPB to deliver energy to the grid as if from a single, fleet-level Virtual Power Plant (VPP), not unlike a large solar energy or energy storage project, except that it is now at the point of load, avoiding losses, distribution upgrades, and precious land.

William J. Ray, EPB Superintendent, commented, “The Glasgow Electric Plant Board was created specifically to meet the needs of our local community, and what our customers want us to do is make service more reliable, less expensive and with fewer emissions. The technology from Sunverge Energy will help us achieve all those goals and help us continue to evolve the way we serve our customers.”

The Glasgow team includes partnerships with University of Louisville Research Foundation; Move the Peak; Virtual Peaker; and, Strata G, LLC. This collaborative team designed this project to study techniques for reducing power production during periods of peak demand by using stored power more effectively. The homes involved in the Sunverge project also use ecobee smart thermostats and GE energy efficient hot water heaters, which work in harmony with EPB’s need for peak load control.