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British energy company Centrica and German storage firm sonnen have installed a network of 100 domestic batteries to form what they claim is the UK’s most advanced virtual power plant.

The network of decentralised home energy storage systems has been approved by National Grid, allowing the batteries to be aggregated in a cloud platform in order to sell storage space when the grid is overloaded or provide stored energy during periods of peak demand – a process known as provide Dynamic Firm Frequency Response.

In a statement, the companies said that this allows customers to “maximise the amount of solar generated electricity in their home, reducing their energy bills while contributing to the stability and sustainability of the UK’s electricity system”.

Jean-Baptiste Cornefert, managing director of sonnen eServices, said: “The digital energy transformation, towards a clean energy system, is taking place all over the world and our technology is an important key to its success.”

“sonnen is the first smart battery manufacturer in the UK to enable a virtual power plant of decentralised smart home storage systems. Every megawatt provided across the network replaces one that would have been generated by conventional fossil fuel power stations.”

The two companies are now working together to build on the existing 100 sonnenBatterie systems to provide even more storage capacity for grid stabilisation in the future.

Pieter-Jan Mermans, Global Optimisation Director at Centrica, said: “In the past, automated demand response was the domain of large industrial and commercial energy users, in the last 12 months we have shown that networks of devices such as home batteries and hot water tanks can also take part, putting the customer in greater control of their energy, making them more sustainable and helping lower their bills.”

Centrica said the collaboration with sonnen “demonstrates how networks of home batteries can work hand in hand with large-scale batteries and other flexible industrial equipment to build a VPP that maximises the value of its component parts, without sacrificing other benefits of the equipment or causing excessive utilisation”.

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Kelvin Ross is Editor-in-Chief of Enlit Europe and Power Engineering International. A journalist for more than 30 years, he has worked on regional, national and international newspapers, as well as trade magazines serving sectors including insurance, shipping, health and financial markets. He has covered the energy sector for more than 10 years. He helped establish Energy Live News in the UK before joining PEi and he has been ranked among the top 100 global influencers on Twitter for 'renewable energy' and 'smart grid' topics.