Switch, Solar and New Energy Round Up for 2017
By Charity Vargas
| Reading time 4 minutes
It’s been awhile since we last blogged a roundup of what’s going on with Switch (April 2016 to be precise). A lot has happened with Switch and the solar and new energy market more generally since then. So let’s get right to it.
Solar Proposals are Growing
Last year, Genability calculated a whopping 3 million residential solar proposals! That is 170% growth from 2015. Since the release of Switch in 2014, we have calculated 6 million, and that is just through Q1 of this year - we have been busy! This is thanks in part to adding new customers (more on that below), but we are also seeing that our existing customers are presenting more proposals. Good news for rooftop solar.
Our APIs are Getting Faster
Extra API volumes mean that it’s even more important to tune our code and infrastructure for speed. We have continued to cut our API response times. Our performance has improved by 20% since last year with an average response time of just 302 milliseconds for a Savings Analysis call!
Highlights from Customers New and Old
We expanded our customer footprint in the residential solar market. Here’s some highlights.
Dividend Finance, a solar loan company bringing together homeowners, installers and investors to enable all members of the solar value chain benefit. Their new quote tool for solar loans integrated with Switch for the best rate accuracy and the largest coverage area. “Saving money is the #1 reason homeowners choose to go solar. Providing accurate estimates of the potential savings is crucial to our business. Dividend chose Genability over another provider of tariff rate data to support our customers with the most accurate savings forecasts on the market,” said Phil Meachin, VP of Strategy and Communications for Dividend Solar.
Sunnova, the residential solar company from Houston, also upgraded to Switch with their new dealer quote tool, releasing it to all of their residential dealers and installers in 2016. This version enhanced calculated solar avoided cost calculations and utility tariff rate data collection. “Genability has been a great partner to us. They are extremely responsive to questions and tickets and are always a step ahead of us in thinking about what features and functionality we might want next”, said Chris Hayden,” of Sunnova.
In addition to growing our existing relationships with customers Sunrun, SunPower, SolarCity, NRG, Spruce and others, Genability also partners with the industry’s best quote tool providers. Residential solar quote tool providers Sighten, SolarNexus and ModSolar all utilize Switch for their utility avoided cost calculations.
A Growing Focus on Customer Engagement
Many Solar companies are now focusing on profitability and long term stability rather than the rapid “land-grab” of past years. With that we are seeing a new focus on customer engagement campaigns with an emphasis on lowering operation and maintenance costs, creating referral programs, up selling and satisfying current customers. Genability customers like Sunrun, that have integrated with the latest version of Switch in their consumer web portal can show their customers their real savings after going solar. This actual savings information is tremendously valuable for sales, referrals and support inquires, and improves engagement programs and marketing campaigns.
New Requirements from Utilities for Solar Customers
Over the past year an increasing number of utilities are either requiring solar customers to switch their tariff after interconnection or impose additional fixed charges for solar customers. A year ago, only Salt River Project in Arizona required solar customers to switch tariffs post solar, but today 2 of the 3 California investor-owned utilities do (PG&E and SDG&E), most Hawaiian utilities (HECO, HELCO and MECO) as well as the Imperial and Modesto Irrigation Districts. Solar-specific fixed charges have spread from Arizona Public Service across the country to Santee Cooper in South Carolina, New Braunfels Utility in Texas, as well as two munis in Utah (St. George and Santa Clara). Genability has been tracking these cases and adjusting our data accordingly to ensure that all the applicable charges and requirements are handled automatically by Switch.
After SunEdison : A Silver Lining
We were saddened by the news of the SunEdison bankruptcy. Genability had worked closely with their Residential and Small Commercial teams to provide savings analyses. There bankruptcy was a big loss, and something of a black eye for the solar industry. However, it is not all bad news. A number parts of what was once SunEdison have been picked up and reimagined in a number of new homes. Out of the ashes Genability picked up three new Switch customers; Flextronics, Crius Solar and DataReef, all of whom are pushing solar forward.
Mostly Sunny Future
It seems the industry consensus is that costs will continue go down, panel technology will continue to improve, storage will come online, coal plants will continue to close and new energy will become the only new energy source added to the grid. And it will be turbulent but inevitable, because it will be the the most cost effective solution to the world’s energy needs. How cost effective is what we are here to help you with.
We are committed to exceeding the needs of our customers. We want the price of energy to help drive your sales and customer satisfaction in innovative new products and technologies. So if you are New Energy Company interested in Switch, please contact us, we would love to hear from you.
For more information on configuring actual solar savings, please check out our developer site.
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