POWER.HOUSE – Canada’s ‘First-of-Its-Kind’ Virtual Power Plant

A Glimpse of Canada’s Energy Future

Alectra Utilities’ POWER.HOUSE pilot program is providing a glimpse of Canada’s energy future, showcasing how residential customers can simultaneously generate their own clean energy and work together as a Virtual Power Plant to augment the grid. Canada’s first Virtual Power Plant uses an aggregate fleet of 20 residential solar and energy storage systems located at customer homes, that can be autonomously controlled through intelligent software to simulate a single, larger power generating facility. The technology in use is a combination of rooftop solar PV panels and a lithium-ion battery installed “behind the meter” at participating customers’ homes.

Customers benefit from generating their own clean, renewable energy and displace a portion of their energy from the Ontario grid, leading to reduced exposure to peak electricity rates and providing significant bill reduction. Customers also have the added benefit of outage protection by using energy from a combination of on-site stored and generated solar energy. From an electric utility perspective, leveraging carbon-free generating resources and fast-responding energy storage assets can play a pivotal role in several grid supporting functions. These resources can be used to reduce peak system loads, regulate frequency, and even defer capital costs associated with traditional electricity delivery infrastructure.

Coordinating a group of distributed energy resources to reinforce the grid serves as a true “win-win” proposition for customers and utilities alike.