An artist's rendering shows an apartment virtual power plant project concept. Image via wasatchgroup.com.
Written by Frank Lopez
Solar energy for homes has been a growing trend in the Central Valley for years, and a new project in Fresno is using the clean energy to power an apartment complex.
Sonnen, a smart energy storage system manufacturer headquartered in Germany, and clean energy system developer Utah-based Wasatch Energy Group have announced it will deploy a series of residential virtual power plant (VPP) projects in California.
Wasatch California VPP teams will outfit around 3,000 residential apartment homes with solar generation and Sonnen intelligent battery energy storage.
The first solar-and-storage retrofit work will begin in September at the 417-unit Heron Pointe apartment community in Fresno near Marks and Shaw avenues. Completion is expected early next year.
The work will be done with Soleil Energy, a new engineering, procurement and construction company established by the Wasatch group for the VPP deployments. The energy generated will be used by apartment residents and will go into the grid as well.
The projected total cost of the solar and batter storage installation at Heron Point is $19.7 million, including the cost of the solar panels.
Wasatch chose Heron Pointe because of its mix of income levels that represent the project’s vision of making solar energy and battery storage more accessible. The Fresno area is also prone to black outs and preventative utility shutdowns to reduce wildfire risk.
With all of its VPPs, the project is set to become the largest apartment-based VPP fleet in the world after its 2021 completion. The project is funded by $130 million in investment from Wasatch and external investors.
“This has been an unbelievable journey and one of the most complicated projects I’ve worked on,” said Ryan Peterson, president and managing partner of Wasatch Energy Group. “However, we are committed to solving energy issues across the country, using clean, renewable and reliable energy systems in partnership. We believe in it for everyone and that’s why we’ve made it this far. We can’t wait to show the world what we’ve created.”