A virtual power plant for every home

A city at night overlooking a river with bright blue lines connecting between buildings

In 2019 we collaborated with sonnen to install a network of 100 domestic batteries that formed the UK’s most advanced virtual power plant. The project, approved by National Grid, created an innovative network of decentralized home energy storage systems.

What is a virtual power plant?

By aggregating the 100 batteries on our cloud platform, we built a virtual power plant capable of providing dynamic Firm Frequency Response (FFR).

This means the virtual power plant sells storage space when the grid is overloaded – and supplies stored energy back to the grid during times of peak demand.

As well as contributing to the stability and sustainability of the UK’s electricity system, the virtual power plant delivers tangible benefits to individual customers.

It not only maximises the amount of solar-generated electricity they can use in by their homes, but also helps to reduce their overall energy bills.

How home batteries will change the energy system

Home batteries are becoming ever more popular with consumers and virtual power plants are increasingly being used by energy companies to manage their energy portfolios and systems in a more sustainable and cost-efficient way.

The collaboration with sonnen demonstrates how networks of home batteries can work hand in hand with large-scale batteries and other flexible industrial equipment to build virtual power plants that maximise the value of their component parts. And they can do this without causing excessive utilisation or sacrificing other benefits of the equipment.

"In the past, automated Demand Response was the domain of large industrial and commercial energy users, but in the last 12 months we have shown that networks of devices such as home batteries and hot water tanks can also take part, putting the customer in greater control of their energy, making them more sustainable and helping lower their bills."

Pieter-Jan Mermans, Global Optimisation Director, Centrica

"The digital energy transformation towards a clean energy system is taking place all over the world – and our technology is an important key to its success. sonnen is the first provider in the UK to prequalify with a virtual power plant of decentralised home storage systems. Every megawatt provided across the network replaces one that would have been generated by conventional fossil fuel power stations."

Jean-Baptiste Cornefert, Managing Director, sonnen eServices

If you'd like to find out more about this project – or about how Hive Honeycomb can help you – get in touch to speak with one of our experts.

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Hive launched in 2013 and is one of the top smart thermostat providers in the UK. With 2.1 million customers and counting, it is part of British Gas, one of Britain’s leading suppliers of energy and services. The range of Hive products and services are designed to work together, to offer affordable, easy to use solutions and make a difference in people’s lives.

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