Virtual Peaker is a software as a service (SaaS) company that provides a platform for utilities to manage, aggregate and control residential smart devices and distributed energy resources (DERS). Their customers use these resources for demand response, customer engagement, and the development of new business models. The company is based out of Louisville, KY and led by Dr. Bill Burke, an entrepreneur with a PhD from UC Berkeley in Controls and Artificial Intelligence and over 10 years of experience with high performance residential energy management and connected appliances.
Dr. Burke previously worked at GE as an Advanced Systems Engineer in the Connected Home Software Group, where he helped develop the API that GE uses to communicate with their connected devices. In 2006, Dr. Burke wrote the software for the first programmable communicating thermostat under contract by the California Energy Commission. Virtual Peaker was founded with these experiences in mind, with an eye towards future energy markets where DERs need to communicate with the grid and one-another in real time.
To date, the most exciting storage-focused deployment of Virtual Peaker’s software is in Green Mountain Power’s (GMP) Bring Your Own Battery (BYOB) program. In this program, Virtual Peaker communicates with customers’ battery systems through their Application Programming Interface (API). Through this approach, VP is able to provide real-time control of a fleet of battery systems from several different vendors.
Virtual Peaker enables utilities to integrate all of the of DERs within the home, including batteries, thermostats, water heaters, EV chargers, heat pumps, etc. By being able to integrate new devices in weeks instead of months, Virtual Peaker provides a solution that can evolve as new devices come onto the market. Virtual Peaker provides a distinct advantage over other providers of similar aggregation services since it is able to integrate with DERs rapidly through their API and other open standards, without the installation of any additional hardware in the home. This can allow utilities to leverage DERs for the maximum benefit, without greatly increasing the capital costs of the systems.
VP also optimizes each individual device (such as a battery) in their system, allowing for control of the device based on the behavior of the customer and to apply advanced control frameworks, such as real-time price arbitrage, Time-of-use (TOU) optimization, or load-following on renewable energy production. Given the wide range of devices that can be connected to VP’s platform, it is clear that its role in the future grid is only just beginning.
According to Virtual Peaker, “New York is one of the most exciting and dynamic storage markets in the country. NY-BEST has been critical in helping us wade through the complexity that accompanies that dynamism to create meaningful opportunities for our business.”