EnSync Energy adds demand management function to its solar + storage Smart Home platform

Ensync Smart home

EnSync Energy Systems is taking its innovative line of residential and commercial solar plus storage systems and asset control platforms one step further with the addition of demand management capability.

This new EnSync Smart Home system integrates the management of on-site solar plus storage with the management of demand from residential appliances, including electric water heaters, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, lighting sources and electric vehicle charging stations. By enabling this level of coordination between photovoltaics (PV), batteries, the utility grid and home consumption, the system not only optimizes energy for price and reliability, but also increases energy autonomy.

The product will debut with integration of smart water heater load control, then expand to integrate electric vehicle charge control, and finally to other major appliances by the end of next year.

“The EnSync Smart Home system enables both energy independence and cost savings by integrating utility rate information and electricity supply from PV, energy storage and the grid with electricity demand data from major appliances in the home,” said Brad Hansen, CEO of EnSync Energy.

How it works

For example, by integrating water heater load into the system, the system can intelligently manage heating of the water to occur at lower-use times of day, such as before anyone in the home wakes up or during peak PV generation, when the home is producing excess electricity, to have the water ready for the evening. The system can also intelligently discharge the battery to offset load sources in order to minimize grid electricity.

“This ability to intelligently offset home loads with storage enables the consumer to minimize adverse impact from tiered rates, time-of-day rates and demand charges from the utility, while also maintaining the quality of life and comfort the homeowner is accustomed to,” Hansen says.

The EnSync Smart Home is the latest development of the EnSync Home Energy System, which debuted in May 2018. Designed for multi-unit properties and residential communities, the system’s modular structure, DC BUS architecture and IoE communications, command and control platform optimizes the economics of clean energy for both multi-family properties and individual homes. Its lithium-iron-phosphate battery chemistry also ensures greater energy storage safety.

To achieve further grid independence, EnSync Smart Home can also integrate individual residential units into an energy sharing network with the EnSync True Peer-to-Peer DC-Link. By allowing individual residential units to exchange electricity directly with one another, this feature mitigates the inefficiencies created by vacancy rates, time-of-day absence and micro-loading effects in multi-unit properties or communities, increasing utilization of the solar generation across the network as a whole.

Being able to manage the energy supply and load in the home in an integrated and intelligent fashion will be key criteria for achieving market leadership in the residential energy storage market, which EnSync Energy estimates will be worth more than $9 billionover the next five years, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 60 percent.

— Solar Builder magazine

Sol-Up USA named Panasonic’s Fastest Growing Installer for 2018

Sol-up

Panasonic ended a great year by holding their inaugural end of the year awards ceremony. Sol-Up USA was nominated by Panasonic and named the Fastest Growing Installer for 2018, installing more kilowatts year over year than any other Panasonic Authorized Solar Installers.

Sol-Up was founded seven years ago in Las Vegas by Frank Rieger. The company distinguishes itself from other companies because it offers more than simple installations. Sol-Up is the only solar power company in the area to have a showroom where potential clients can come and see solar panels and technologies up close to learn about their potential benefits.

Sol-Up firmly believes that their partners must exceed all of the industry standards so that Sol-Up customers receive the best on the market.

— Solar Builder magazine

New report says half of all U.S. consumers are interested in an energy management platform

energy management

A new report, “Consumer Platform of the Future: Industry Insider Perspectives,” looks at the current state of these digital platforms, which include online marketplaces, and data tools for tracking energy usage. Co-authored by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC) and the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), the report also covers future trends that industry experts see in this area and the key components that will make these solutions successful.

“Our consumer surveying on digital platforms has indicated that about half of all U.S. consumers are interested in using a platform for energy management,” said Patty Durand, President and CEO, SECC. “This new white paper provides detailed information, sourced from a wide range of industry experts, that electricity providers can use to successfully roll out a platform of their own that effectively meets these consumers’ needs and wants.”

Based on 16 interviews with energy industry leaders – including electricity providers, technology vendors and consumer advocates – the new report aims to share knowledge and lessons learned with other industry leaders as they plan and implement their own consumer platforms.

Platform vs. portal

The report clearly defines the difference between a consumer platform and a customer portal, explaining how these distinct but interrelated tools are commonly structured, and details how two utilities are using them to more actively engage customers in their energy use.

“The message here is clear: utilities have to go where their customers are – which, increasingly, is online,” said Sharon Thomas, the SEPA Research Analyst who was lead author on the report. “They’ve got intense competition, from Amazon, down to the local restaurant that lets you order online. It’s no surprise that the energy industry leaders we interviewed for this report identified quick and easy access to information as the No. 1 must-have for utilities’ digital platforms for their residential customers.”

Interviewees also share their perspectives on the key features that make a digital customer engagement tool successful. In addition to easy access to information, other must-haves include clear and easy-to-understand information on options and recommendations, and better control of home energy use.

The report identifies some of the challenges utilities and solution providers face with wider adoption of digital tools for customer engagement and proposes solutions and recommendations for each. The most pressing concerns here include working within existing regulatory rules and figuring out the most compelling interests for a range of consumers.

— Solar Builder magazine

How aerial imagery helped Auric Solar close more sales (and how you can too)

auric-solar-case-hdr

Auric Solar, a residential and commercial solar power provider, turned to Nearmap, a premium global location content provider specializing in high-resolution aerial maps, to accelerate the company’s initial assessments. The result was a more complete and accurate view of properties that led to overall better solar sales proposals.

Attend this free Webinar tomorrow to learn more about using aerial imagery at your solar company

How it works

Auric accesses Nearmap imagery through the Aurora Solar platform, a solar sales and design software program. By utilizing Aurora software integrated with Nearmap imagery, Auric analysts have access to crystal clear and current imagery.

“Aurora’s responsive engineering interface coupled with Nearmap’s high-resolution captures allow us to use a combination of 3-D lidar models and 2-D high-resolution maps for complete accuracy in the planning and measuring stage of a project. This equips both the sales and analytics teams with accurate information to save time, money and serve the customer,” said Tyler Soukup, Director of Analytics at Auric Solar.

Analysts can make accurate measurements, run production numbers, identify roof obstructions and craft proposals all within the program. The sales team, analysts and installers are all on the same page—significantly reducing change orders.

Auric also has access to Nearmap historical imagery from years past, including leaf-on and leaf-off imagery—the presence or lack of the foliage depending on the season. This greatly enhances shading analysis, making it easier to place the panels for maximum sun exposure.

The company not only saves a significant amount of time with less onsite visits to qualify homes, but it also opens up more customers to solar.

“We’ve been able to qualify more customers than ever because of Nearmap’s clear, current captures. You really can’t accurately qualify a property without up-to-date imagery,” notes Soukup.

With annotated, high-resolution imagery incorporated into proposals, customers are impressed and have a clear understanding of the project.

“We quote projects from $20,000 to a few million dollars, and our proposals, plans and marketing materials should match that level of value,” said Soukup. “Nearmap helps us achieve that. It creates a ‘wow’ factor.”

Before using Nearmap aerial imagery, Auric resorted to using low-resolution satellite imagery to qualify properties. With outdated, blurry imagery, it was difficult to make accurate measurements and qualify a home before sending a technician for an on-site assessment.

Auric Solar is one of the fastest growing companies in the nation, with recognition on three consecutive Inc. 5000 lists and offices in Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Utah.

How you can use HD Aerial Imagery to bid smarter, design faster and win more solar business

Wed, Dec 5, 2018 2:00 PM EST

This webinar will highlight the use of how aerial imagery integrates with leading PV design platforms, and how having the most recent property location content aids in both the strategy and tactical side of your business. Project managers, designers, and contractors rely on high-res 2D orthomosaics, oblique aerial imagery, and 3D location content to unlock insights, streamline worksite operations, and communicate with confidence.

Sign up for free here.

— Solar Builder magazine

This new SolarDesignTool instantly generates solar permit packages for AHJ approval

solardesigntool

With solar technology being better and more cost effective than ever, the next big area of need is in soft cost reduction. That’s why this new web-based SolarDesignTool is so exciting — it is a complete permit package generation tool for residential rooftop photovoltaic systems. Each solar permit package contains a cover page, site plan, single-line diagram, placards and labels, attachment plan, fire safety plan, equipment data sheets and certifications, and attachment detail when using rail-based mounting components from Unirac, SnapNRack, IronRidge, or Quick Mount PV.

“The permitting process has typically been a major headache for installers and the last major hurdle to getting solar into the hands of the consumer,” says Derek Mitchell, SolarDesignTool’s founder and CEO.

Conceived as an alternative to traditional CAD-based methods of permit package creation, prone to long turnaround times, human-induced typos, and miscommunication errors, SolarDesignTool’s web-based approach allows solar installers to specify a system design in as little as 15 minutes, then generate and download a complete permit package instantly with a single click.

Shadow costs: How outdated local processes stifle the true solar market

“I have been designing PV systems for over ten years and I am always looking for the best way to provide a complete design that is error-free. SolarDesignTool is without a doubt the best tool I have found that performs this function,” says Kimandy Lawrence, Director of Project Engineering at Florida-based solar installer Urban Solar. “Three to four hour detailed designs now take thirty minutes or less. I can truly say that SolarDesignTool is the ‘Holy Grail’ of PV system design.”

In addition to improved speed and accuracy, automation and economies of scale allow for radical reductions in price. SolarDesignTool’s permit packages are priced at just $49-85, depending on volume. Each permit package comes with unlimited free revisions and a money-back guarantee if rejected by the AHJ.

Since the release of the permit package feature, thousands of permit packages have been generated and submitted to AHJs around the United States with a rejection rate of less than 0.5%. Moving forward, SolarDesignTool plans to make the solar permitting process even more streamlined by integrating with other solar software solutions on the market. Enabling web-based permit package generation for designs created with other software will eliminate the need to enter system design information in multiple locations, saving solar installers time and money.

— Solar Builder magazine