Rocky Mountain Power expands its Wattsmart Battery Program into Idaho

Battery maker sonnen has partnered with ES Solar to expand utility Rocky Mountain Power’s Wattsmart Battery Program across Utah and Idaho. ES Solar is expected to bring up to 35 MWh of grid-interactive battery capacity online in 2022 via the Wattsmart program.

“We’re honored to expand our relationship with sonnen by rapidly increasing the implementation of smart batteries within the Wattsmart program.” said Nic Evans, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at ES Solar. “Our team emphasizes the need for more than just rooftop solar to drive the clean energy transition and we want to do more than lead this transition, we want to empower other contractors to follow in our footsteps. This is now possible with our value added distributor model and replicable sales and marketing strategy. As we exceed our goals in Utah and expand into new markets, we’re excited to continue our work with sonnen and Rocky Mountain Power. Through this forward thinking approach, we hope to elevate our beloved solar industry, ‘all boats will rise.’”

As it moves beyond its proof-of-concept phase, ES Solar is experiencing exponential growth with over 6 MWh of monthly sonnen energy storage sales in Utah and Idaho, attributed to the Wattsmart program. In recent years, Rocky Mountain Power has gradually ended its solar net-metering subsidy to shift focus toward replacing solar alone with solar + energy storage with the Wattsmart Battery Program. Through sonnen batteries installed by ES Solar, the companies are building likely the largest network of utility-dispatched smart residential batteries in the United States — also known as a virtual power plant.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved the Wattsmart program in April 2022, making Idaho the second state to embrace Wattsmart. As the first Utah contractor to deploy the new business model, ES Solar has followed this expansion with Wattsmart customer enrollments in Idaho underway, supported by ES Solar’s new sales office in Idaho Falls. ES Solar currently has a 98% smart, utility-controlled battery attachment rate on new solar sales as part of the Wattsmart Program. The company is on track for continued sales growth with goals to install an estimated 1,500 additional customers by the end of 2022 and more than 5,000 in 2023. Additional local offices will be established to support high demand and rapid sales momentum. ES Solar will target existing solar owners, both within its customer base and externally, to retrofit homes with Wattsmart-enrolled batteries.

The Wattsmart Program is rapidly growing each month, with over 2,000 consumer batteries enrolled. With this fleet and Utah’s signature 600-unit VPP at Soleil Lofts, it is currently believed by sonnen that Rocky Mountain Power is directly controlling more residential batteries dynamically and on a daily basis, than any utility controlled battery consumer program in the nation.

The ES Solar team is the first contractor to have access to sonnen’s newest technology, the stackable sonnenCore+ System, which ES launched in July 2022.

“The sonnen and ES Solar teams share a vision of solving our growing energy challenges in a meaningful manner by creating a renewable electrified energy system for society’s future that is scalable and effective,” said Blake Richetta Chairman and CEO at sonnen. “As Rocky Mountain Power’s battery program grows, ES Solar is succeeding in overcoming the complex concepts and challenges associated with effectively integrating residential solar + storage into the broader energy system. As this radical model expands into thousands of new homes, so does the use of batteries for the betterment of individuals, society and the environment, which is the ultimate purpose of a solar battery.”

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