SAN FRANCISCO and BEVERLY, Mass. – Voltus, Inc. (“Voltus”), the leading distributed energy resource (DER) software platform, together with Highland Electric Fleets (“Highland”), the leading provider of fleet electrification-as-a-service in North America, today announced a partnership to deliver grid reliability to the PJM wholesale electricity market using electric school buses from Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). The MCPS school bus deployment represents the largest procurement of electric school buses of any school district in North America to date.
Highland offers full-service electrification solutions for a fixed annual fee. Highland provides the school buses, procures and installs charging infrastructure, manages charging to minimize costs and maximize environmental benefits, facilitates driver and mechanic training, pays for electricity and maintenance and repair costs, and includes performance-based guarantees so customers only pay if their buses perform as required. Established in 2019, Highland has grown quickly and provides its public-private partnership model to both school districts and third-party fleet operators across North America.
“School districts like MCPS are leading the way in fleet electrification, delivering not only healthier transportation for students but also providing support for local and regional electric grid reliability. Partnering with Voltus allows us to offer another value stream to school districts, further lowering the cost of upgrading to electric and also supporting increased renewable energy penetration by making the bus batteries available to utilities and wholesale electricity markets when they’re not being used to transport students,” said Ben Schutzman, vice president of fleet operations at Highland. “Together with Voltus, we are strengthening the economic and environmental use case for school districts to go electric.”
“By connecting Highland’s customers to electricity markets that value them, Voltus is unlocking the power of electric vehicle fleets,” said Dana Guernsey, Voltus’s Chief Product Officer. “Transitioning the entire U.S. school bus fleet from diesel to electric will represent about 29 GW of new electric demand across 480,000 buses. We’re thrilled to demonstrate the value that electric school buses can provide to support grid reliability. School buses are a perfect use case for electrification, and are already cost-competitive on a total-cost-of-ownership basis with diesel buses. We aim to help Highland accelerate the transition to 100% electric school buses by layering on ancillary services and other value streams, which make adopting electric school buses the profitable choice.”
The Voltus software platform connects nearly 2,600 DER megawatts to electricity markets, maximizing the availability of these resources to grid operators. Comprised of all DER asset types, from the smallest DERs (e.g., smart thermostats and other residential resources) to the largest DERs (e.g., manufacturing facilities, data centers, big box retail), Voltus is the only DER software platform participating in all nine U.S. and Canadian wholesale power markets.
Highland Electric Fleets is the leading provider of fleet electrification-as-a-service in North America. Founded in 2019, Highland offers a unique suite of products that make it simple and affordable for school districts, governments, and fleet operators to upgrade to electric fleets today. Whatever the customer’s need, Highland delivers a seamless experience, with all the equipment and services needed to keep a fleet running smoothly. By partnering with Highland, customers can improve community health, stabilize fuel costs, lower carbon emissions, eliminate noise pollution, and support grid resiliency with commercial vehicle-to-grid solutions. Active in 30 states and Canada, Highland is responsible for the largest electric school bus deployment in the United States. To learn more, visit https://highlandfleets.com.
Voltus is the leading software technology platform connecting distributed energy resources to electricity markets, delivering less expensive, more reliable, and more sustainable electricity. Our commercial and industrial customers and DER partners generate cash by allowing Voltus to maximize the value of their flexible load, distributed generation, energy storage, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle resources in these markets. To learn more, visit www.voltus.co.