Saves Customers $200,000 in Just One Hour by Reducing Peak Power Demand
Colchester, Vt – Green Mountain Power’s Stafford Hill Solar Farm in Rutland, one of the nation’s first micro-grids powered solely by solar and battery back-up, is now the first in the region to use battery storage to reduce peak power usage, benefiting customers by saving $200,000 in one hour.
Stafford Hill is also the first and only project currently providing fast-acting power when the grid needs it as renewable energy fluctuates during the day and night. This is another way the project lowers costs for customers. This new market in New England is key to helping the grid provide reliable power as the region uses more renewable energy.
When first announced, Stafford was a stand-out project for two distinct reasons: its location on a capped landfill making use of the land in a new and creative way, and its battery storage used to power an emergency shelter at Rutland High School. Now GMP is taking it a step further.
“When we combine solar and battery storage, it opens a whole world of possibilities for our customers, and reducing peak demand saving $200,000 in just one hour is one example of how we’re delivering on our promise to customers,” said Mary Powell, President and CEO of Green Mountain Power. “This is the future of energy and it’s never been more exciting. GMP is helping customers generate power from clean, affordable energy sources closer to where it is used, and when paired with battery storage that energy can be used during outages and to help reduce peak energy demand, reducing costs for all customers.”
Green Mountain Power hit its annual peak on August 12th this year when the weather was nearly 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The Company was able to reduce its overall energy demand by using both the solar generated at Stafford Hill and all the energy stored in the batteries during the hour that New England hit its annual peak. Utilities are charged year-round according to the percent they contribute to the overall New England peak during that hour, so by significantly reducing GMP’s peak use during that hour, the Stafford Hill project saved customers approximately $200,000.
“Through careful planning, we anticipated when the New England peak load would occur, and worked tirelessly to ensure that control technology would enable us to draw down the power from Stafford Hill providing significant benefit to customers,” said Powell.
“Reducing Vermont’s peak load delivers significant cost savings and environmental benefits. GMP has done great work here and it’s really just the beginning”, said Tom Dunn, VELCO President and CEO. “Going forward, we are working collaboratively with GMP and other utilities to build on their innovative work to secure even greater customer savings statewide.”
GMP’s Stafford Hill combines 2 megawatts of solar panels with 3.4 megawatt-hours of battery storage, which smooths out generation from the facility and also allows the solar to disconnect from the grid to provide critical power for the emergency shelter. Renewable Energy Credits from Stafford Hill and most larger generation facilities are sold, and all proceeds are used to reduce electricity rates for customers even further.