Swell will link batteries in 6,000 different homes to create a decentralized power plant for the local utility. The virtual power plant model offers homeowners backup power and power bill savings from self-supplying electricity for more hours of the day. The battery capacity is also available to the utility to deal with the systemwide challenges associated with the transition to cleaner energy. This requires balancing grid needs with ensuring that customers are backed up and fairly compensated. "What do homeowners think about this? Folks dig it," CEO Suleman Khan told Greentech Media in a December interview. "The dual use case is quite efficacious for both parties." This is still an emerging asset class, but last month Swell revealed it had raised a $450 million project finance fund from Ares Management Corp. and Aligned Climate Capital. The fund provides the venture-backed startup with low-cost capital to build out battery networks, in anticipation of the long-term contracted revenue Swell will earn from utilities once the fleets are operational. The startup previously closed deals with utility Southern California Edison, both to keep up with demand in rapidly growing parts of Orange County and to supply capacity to the Oxnard and Ventura region […]

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