Program Information, Eligibility, and Enrollment
What is a VPP?
A Virtual Power Plant (VPP) is a cloud-based network of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) that has been aggregated using a Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS).
In times of peak energy consumption, DERMS software can pull energy from local DERs and combine their collective energy capacity to form a VPP. The VPP then distributes that energy to the electrical grid, offsetting the increased demand.
VPPs not only reward participants, but they are typically more efficient and less damaging to the environment because they utilize existing infrastructure over building new power plants.
What are DERs?
Distributed Energy Resources, or DERs, are power generating devices or controllable power-consuming devices that are connected to the grid. DERs include solar panels, battery storage devices, smart thermostats, and backup generators, and are typically behind the meter.
Why does Generac offer this program?
The extreme weather events in Texas emphasized the critical importance of having electricity in your home. As the market leader in backup power generation, Generac’s customers have the opportunity to gain additional value, by getting rewarded for using backup power generation to support the resiliency of the grid, at critical times. The Generac Virtual Power Plant Program helps keep the lights on for Texas electric customers by reducing load on the grid and providing the capacity the electricity operator, ERCOT, needs during emergency situations.
How do I enroll?
You can apply to participate in the program by clicking HERE to submit your application. We will review the information you provide and reply with your status within 30-90 days.
How long does the program last for?
Generac’s VPP Program has a 5-year commitment. When your unit is installed, we will notify you about which program enrollment group you are eligible to join.
Will it cost me anything to participate in this program?
You may incur additional fees for natural gas and propane usage.
Will I notice any changes to my energy use during an energy event?
Immediately prior to an energy event, we will turn on your home backup generator. Once we confirm that the generator is working, we will disconnect you from the power grid and your home backup generator will be powering your home. This transition will take place automatically in milliseconds, and you should not notice any changes to your home energy use.
If your home backup generator was installed with smart management module systems that turn off the largest electricity demands during the startup of your generator, you may notice a period where your air conditioner, dryer, or electric vehicle charger, for example, turns off momentarily (e.g., for 5 minutes), until the generator can ensure that it will meet all electricity demands. If this occurs, you may notice a power interruption to these large electrical loads during the energy event. This is unlikely to occur for customers with the 22 kW to 26kW air-cooled home standby generators; however, variations can occur depending on your home’s energy uses and the installation procedures used.
Who can participate in the program?
The program is available to customers that meet the following conditions:
- Live in Texas in an area served by Electric Reliability Council of Texas (see ERCOT map here).
- Receive retail electricity service from a Retail Electric Provider—customers receiving electric service from a municipal utility or cooperative are not eligible currently.
- Has an installed or soon to be installed Generac Guardian Home Backup Generator (16kW-26kW, air cooled only).
- Home standby generator is connected to an active internet source (Wi-Fi, ethernet, or cellular) and owner has an active or dealer managed subscription to MobileLink;
- You have not applied or received status as a Chronic Care, Critical Care, or Critical Load designation from your Transmission and Distribution Service Provider.
- You do not operate critical life support equipment at the participating address.
Why do I need an active or dealer managed MobileLink subscription to participate?
If you do not have one of these two subscription types, Generac will not have the access necessary to turn on your generator during an energy event.
How will my data be used?
Once I sign up, is my enrollment guaranteed?
No; once you submit your application, a member of the Generac team will review and verify that you meet all enrollment requirements. If you meet all program requirements, you will receive an email confirming your enrollment.
After I enroll, do I need to do anything to participate?
Once we confirm over email that you are enrolled in the program, you do not need to take any action for the rest of the program. We will remotely set-up your home backup generator and manage it during an energy event.
Why was my application denied?
If your application to join the program was denied, it is most likely because you did not meet all the enrollment requirements. The most common reasons for denial include:
- Your home contains critical care equipment
- You are not in ERCOTs territory
- You do not meet all the connectivity requirements
- Generator is not connected to an active Internet source (Wi-Fi, Ethernet, cellular)
- Do not have an active or dealer managed subscription to MobileLink
PARTICIPATION IN ENERGY EVENTS
What is an energy event?
An energy event is a period where there is very high energy use in Texas, extremely high wholesale electricity prices, or there has been loss of energy supply from power plants, and we can reduce the energy demand of our customers by turning on their backup home generators to help the electricity system maintain reliability. An energy event is called directly by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas or is initiated by Generac in response to very high electricity prices in the Texas electricity market that is run by ERCOT.
When do energy events typically occur?
An energy event may occur during any hour of the day. However, energy events occur most often in the late afternoon and early evening.
What time of year will energy events occur?
An energy event can occur at any point throughout the year. However, energy events are most common during the summer months of June-September.
How long will an energy event last for?
A typical energy event lasts between 30 minutes-2 hours. However, an energy event may be as short as 15 minutes or as long as 12 hours, in extreme circumstances.
How many energy events will occur during the program?
There could be 10 energy events per year, lasting for a total of 25 hours or less*.
*In extreme circumstances, it is possible that ERCOT calls more than 10 events per year or for events to last more than 25 cumulative hours per year.
How will I know if an event is occurring?
You will receive an email from Generac before an event begins.
Who is controlling my unit during an event?
ERCOT will notify Generac when an energy event is called. Generac will then turn on your generator remotely. Generac will turn it off again when the event concludes.
Can I opt-out of participating in an event?
Yes, you can opt out of up to 2 events, per year, throughout the duration of the program. If you opt out of more than 2 events per year, you will be unenrolled from the program and lose access to the 10-year extended warranty.
How do I opt-out of participating in an event?
You can opt-out of an event by replying to the email that you receive directly before an energy event. It may take up to 30 minutes to reconnect your electricity to the utility and turn off your generator.
How will I be rewarded for participation?
After all the connectivity requirements have been met and your enrollment has been confirmed, Generac will reward you with a 10-year extended warranty – a $995 value.
When will I receive my incentive?
The 10-year extended warranty will be attached to your generator within 60 days of enrollment approval and confirmation that your connectivity requirements have been met.
How do I unenroll?
You can unenroll from the program by clicking HERE.
Are there any penalties for unenrolling?
If you unenroll any time before the 5-year commitment has expired, you will lose the 10-year extended warranty and be bumped down to a 5-year extended warranty.
As a new service we’re providing to our Texas customers, we may send you a survey over email to understand your reason for unenrollment. Although not required, we appreciate any feedback you can provide. By understanding your experiences in the program, we can further improve what we offer to you and other customers in the future.