Lancaster Advanced Energy Community (AEC) Project

Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Alliance


Davis, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Update

In 2021, the Lancaster Advanced Energy Community Project team has developed a robust Virtual Power Plant (VPP) design – including multiple Community Microgrids -- designed to unlock energy savings and enhance resilience for the residential and commercial customers of the Lancaster Choice Energy CCA, with a special focus on Disadvantaged Community residents in new and existing affordable housing. In addition, the project team has worked with the City of Lancaster, and its partner affordable housing developer BRIDGE, to design a network of nanogrids that will be deployed alongside the construction of 153 affordable townhomes in a new ZNE subdivision. Each affordable townhome will include solar, energy storage, and smart devices that will be responsive to signals from an open-source ADR 2.0b compliant Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) to shape and shift loads in response to grid, carbon, and economic signals. In 2022, the project team will be supporting final design for the energy assets, and the financing of community microgrids in Lancaster’s downtown Green District that link with the territory-wide VPP. Microgrids will focus on community facilities such as the Fire Station, Sheriffs’ Station, the Lancaster Public Library, and two multi-family affordable housing sites.

The Issue

Local governments and cities will play a large part in reaching California's ambitious renewable energy goals. However, as cities move their energy mix to more renewable energy, they face new challenges. 100 percent renewables requires intelligent resource management to help balance the grid. There is a need for new public-private partnerships and business models that enable cost-effective implementation of zero net energy buildings, community-scale solar and storage, and other distributed energy resources. Finally, intensifying climate impacts have underscored the need to increase local resilience to grid outages by accelerating deployment of renewable microgrids.

Project Innovation

This project will deploy energy storage and microgrids at sites throughout Lancaster and integrate these DERs into a first-of-its-kind Virtual Power Plant (VPP). The project will demonstrate the power of local renewables, storage, and flexible load to balance the local grid, mitigate the duck curve, and provide valuable new grid services. These shovel-ready projects include two master-metered, ZNE affordable housing developments that island as microgrids. Renewable microgrids will be deployed at three Lancaster city schools, allowing these schools to provide critical services and act as shelters in an emergency. In addition, 3 MWh of energy storage will be deployed at commercial sites throughout Lancaster via the Lancaster Green District program, which will demonstrate an innovative public-private partnership model. All of these resources will be integrated into the Lancaster VPP, which will enable optimized performance of 5 MW of solar PV and 10 MWh of energy storage. The Lancaster VPP will demonstrate how local load-serving entities can help mitigate the problem of solar over-generation and intermittency with economic DER solutions.

Project Benefits

This project will support the development and commercialization of technological advancements and breakthroughs that overcome barriers to the achievement of the State of California's statutory energy goals by demonstrating a virtual power plant that can optimize the value and improve the economic attractiveness of distributed energy resources. In addition, the project will act as a demonstration for promising technical solutions that will lower costs and provide superior operational value, including a side-by-side demonstration of flywheel and lithium-ion storage systems, as well as several deployments of modular microgrids.

Lower Costs


These developments will utilize an innovative stationary storage business model that minimizes up-front capital costs through a shared savings model.

Greater Reliability


As Lancaster increases its reliance on distributed solar PV as a base load resource, the battery storage deployments and integration with the VPP will increase grid reliability and substantially mitigate reliability issues

Increase Safety


Lancaster is located directly over the San Andreas fault at the end of a long feeder line, which creates exceptional risk of long-term outages in the event of an earthquake, fire, or other emergency.

Contact the Team