While solar panels were extremely popular with homes and businesses, they caused problems for HECO’s grid. Slowing installations to address those issues hurt the utility’s public image. With the importance of distributed energy resources (DERs) and the challenge of integrating them becoming clear, HECO wanted to capitalize on battery storage opportunities with minimal deployment challenges.
Stem and HECO worked together closely to develop program rules, enrollment strategies and incentives, and then jointly recruited customers: a diverse mix of Oahu’s hotels, schools, tourism spots and other businesses. Stem engineers also developed the VPP’s software platform and trained HECO staff on its use, joining grid operators in the control room to ensure a successful deployment.
The Stem VPP far outperformed the utility’s other demand response assets, routinely delivering 98-100% of expected capacity. And Stem’s software provided total visibility into the VPP network, which other demand response (DR) resources lacked. Deploying the successful pilot and hearing directly from customers about their priorities and needs were instrumental in helping HECO design the industry-leading grid services programs it offers today.
Director, Renewable Energy Planning, HECO (2017)