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SoCal Edison Wants To Harness Home Solar For A Virtual Power Plant

Workers install solar panels on a house. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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On the hottest Southern California days, when we’re cranking up the A/C, we’re also stressing the power grid. Southern California Edison meets that extra demand by firing up gas-fueled power plants, which are costly to run and burn polluting fossil fuel.

Now Edison and the solar panel company Sunrun are teaming up on a cleaner alternative.

The goal is for batteries from thousands of home solar energy systems to be chained together and their power used to top off energy supplies when needed — essentially creating a virtual power plant.

The pilot project starts with 300 homes in Edison’s multi-county service territory. Each owner would receive a $250 incentive to contribute their excess power to the grid when it’s needed most.

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If the system works, it could expand and ultimately replace those dirty gas-fired power plants.

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