Genability Recognized as SF Green Business

IMG_1966At the end of January, Genability was honored at the eighth annual San Francisco Green Business Awards ceremony, in recognition of our official status as a San Francisco Green Business.

See pictures from the awards event here!

Becoming a SF Green Business means taking action to conserve resources, prevent pollution, minimize waste, and comply with environmental regulations.  One task that still seems to perplex employees is what items can be recycled, composted, or tossed in the landfill.  Even with signage clearly posted, it is not an uncommon sight to see me digging in the bins to put things in the right receptacle. It’s a dirty job, but Genability is committed to doing it.IMG_1972

The SF Green Business program is comprised of three city agencies: SF Environment, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission tasked with helping San Francisco businesses adopt environmental practices that are sustainable as well as profitable. The SF Green Business Program is also a member of the Bay Area Green Business Program and the California Green Business Network. Genability was one of 56 recognized Businesses of 2013.

 

 

 

 

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Looking Forward – Calculating Future Utility Costs

Genability has added forecasted seasonal rates to our Solar Savings calculations.  Not to be confused with utility rate inflation (we’ve got some upgrades coming in this area soon), forecasted seasonal rates allow you to use the most recent version of the tariff and maintain the seasonality embedded in frequently changing rates like Fuel Cost Adjustments.

To see how this affects savings calculations, let’s look at first year utility bills using three different methodologies for a typical residential solar customer in Boston:

TTM – Trailing 12 Months

FTM – Forward 12 Month, no forecasts

Switch FTM w/ forecasted rates

July 2013

$2,368

$2,521

$2,513

November 2013

$2,430

$2,507

$2,543

February 2014

$2,419

$2,758

$2,557

The TTM approach comes with the lowest costs of the three approaches, hardly a surprise considering it uses older versions of the rates.  The FTM approach better reflects what the customer will pay, unless you run you quote when there is a spike in prices (fuel costs were especially high this February).

The Switch method uses forecasts of frequently changing rates, so your forecasted utility costs mirror the rise and fall of prices throughout the year.  Thus, the Switch method incorporates the most recent information, but does not see every price spike as a trend.

This new method is the product of several months of analysis in which we reviewed over 100,000 rate changes over the past three years, and thousands more from historical EIA data.  Our research gives us confidence in using our rate forecasts to predict savings not just for the first year, but for the entire lifetime of the solar system.

When you present your customer savings for a 20-year lease or PPA, what you use to calculate the first year’s utility bill really matters.  A small difference in the 1st year assumptions can grow into a big discrepancy over the lifetime of the system.  By using forecasted rates, the Switch methodology is a clear upgrade on previous methods of calculating first year and lifetime savings.

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Better Solar Estimates Using Hawaiian SunZones

Solar is an attractive proposition in Hawaii, with great solar irradiance and high utility rates. 1 out of 4 homes in Hawaii has gone solar.  A home in Honolulu that uses 1,000 kWh/month and installs a 5 kW system can eliminate over $2,400 in utility spending in the first year at an avoided cost of 33.6¢/kWh.  It’s no wonder that Hawaii has installed the second most residential solar in 2013 according to GreenTech Media.

As those of you who have vacationed on the aloha isle can attest, the microclimates vary tremendously.  You could be on the beach one minute and hiking up a mountain later in the afternoon.  For example, the Honolulu airport gets twice as much sunlight as Ahupua National Park and they’re about 25 miles apart.

To help develop more renewables the Hawaii State Energy Office put together a renewable EnerGIS map that provides the micro-climate data necessary for more accurate solar estimates. Utilizing available data in public GIS files, known as “layers”, the HSEO makes this data publicly available.

solarmap-oahu

Genability now allows you to use these Hawaiian SunZones to correct for Hawaiian micro-climates when estimating solar production through PVWatts.  Using the SunZone to adjust the solar production results in  a 5 kW system in Ewa (SunZone 501-550), producing 28.5% more than the same system in Kaneohe (SunZone 351-400).  Simply select your SunZone along with the other solar system parameters when generating solar production for your account.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 8.59.35 AMThe example above is for Oahu, but the State Energy Office has mapped all the islands similarly.  The great news for solar developers is that utility costs are even higher on the other Hawaiian islands.   So when you create projects in Hawaii, don’t forget to incorporate the SunZone.  You’ll get more accurate estimates for your quotes and your operations and maintenance team will thank you after install.

 

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Genability welcomes EnerNOC as a Partner

Today I’m pleased to announce our newest customer, but more importantly our newest partner and investor, EnerNOC (NASDAQ: ENOC). The team and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

EnerNOC

As I’m sure many of you know, EnerNOC is a leading provider of energy intelligence software (EIS) to commercial, institutional and industrial organizations, with customers around the globe and an unrivaled list of utility partners.  We’ve admired EnerNOC since we started our company. We’ve had the opportunity to get to know them as we discussed ways we could help bring transparency and cost savings to their customers. These talks became serious around the same time our fundraising process did. So when they asked if we’d consider a closer partnership, we were very interested.

Fast forward to today. EnerNOC is now an equity holder in Genability, and has licensed our core technology to build into their next generation energy intelligence software. CEO Tim Healy joins me on our board.

“Genability’s technology gives EnerNOC the ability to rapidly scale the amount of tariff information currently supported by our EIS platform. More importantly, it gives our customers the transparency they need to truly understand and appreciate the bottom line benefit that can be achieved by managing energy with software.”
Micah Remley, Vice President of Product Strategy and Technology at EnerNOC

Read EnerNOC’s full press release here.

This partnership is an important catalyst for Genability. This funding and relationship allows us to accelerate the growth of our solar, EV, connected appliance and home energy management business. We’re concentrating on providing New Energy Companies our Switch™, Conduct™ and Current™ products, which replace and significantly enhance our retiring Toolbox APIs.

We’re also hard at work on a new offering, Verified By Genability, which is an independent assessment of potential electricity cost savings coupled with a monthly report on what was actually saved. We’ll verify solar savings, EV, storage, rates and much more. Look out for an announcement on this within the next few weeks.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be happy to show you how this partnership translates into better service, a more secure vendor, faster software development, and truly exceptional products. And we’re not wasting any time. The team has already started on the first upgrades for release in the spring.

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Join Our Team. Help People Save Money & The Planet

Our family is growing.  If you’re interested in joining our fun, challenging and rewarding team, we want to hear from you.  Genability works with the most innovative companies in solar, EV, connected applianced and home energy management and we need your help in building the next generation of our products.  We currently have openings for the following positions:

Senior Software Engineer – Leadership role in developing our newest products, Switch, Conduct and Current.  5+ years of server side development, Agile & test-driven methodology.  Full job posting.

Software Engineer Intern – College student with 1+ years of experience, built web services and APIs, familiarity with agile and test-driven methodology.  Full job posting.

Need some persuasion?  You could have lunch every day with these handsome folks.

team photo

 

 

 

 

 

Please send resumes to jobs@genability.com.  

No Recruiters!  Do Not Call Us!  Seriously, We Do Not Hire From Recruiters!

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Reviewing the 2014 rates

The month of January is when a majority of utilities release their updated rate plans for the new year.  It has been a busy time for the Genability data team as we reviewed and updated over ten thousand rates to keep our database current, accurate and up-to-date.   There were rate increases across the board, some were dramatically high while others moderately so.

We saw the northeastern utilities raise prices significantly.  The dramatic increases were felt  primarily in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York and were attributed to spiking gas demand and capacity issues.

NSTAR in boston saw double digit year over year increase for residential and commercial tariffs with a steep hike in demand and energy supply components. Energy charges on the default residential tariff for NSTAR has jumped over 20%. Connecticut Light & Power residents also saw their default tariff  jump double digits.

New York City residents are having a particularly tough winter.  The consumers of Con Ed who are on the default residential tariff will see a hefty January bill.  The market supply charge which is a daily charge and the dominant component in the bill has seen severe fluctuations between 6 and 30 cents so far and the upcoming bill will be significantly higher than the month before.

On the west coast, SDG&E customers saw a considerable increase as well with year over year increase of  over 20% for residential.  We also saw a significant increase in demand charges for  commercial tariffs.   The AL-TOU tariff which had a year over year double digit increase saw it coming mostly from a demand charge jump.

Not all utilities were in a inflationary mode.  Bucking the general trend, we saw a welcome reduction in rates for Detroit Edison customers with  rates decreasing around  5% year over year.  DTE  claims to have achieved that  by improvements in  managing fuel expenses and better processes.

Infrastructure upgrades, gas prices and renewable generation are some of the factors which will continue affecting rate trends.  Visit Explorer to check the latest rates for your utility.

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Former CPUC members observations on NEM

Last week, Mark Ferron, former executive with Deutsche Bank and Salomon Brothers stepped down from his post with the California Public Utility Commission to focus on his battle with prostate cancer.  As an epilogue to his almost three year career with the CPUC, Ferron scribed a three page letter giving his candid review of the state of California energy and climate policy, as well as the CPUC.

Below is a copy of his letter, a must read for anyone interested in solar, energy or the climate.

We would like to thank Mr. Fennon for his service and wish him the best of luck in his fight against cancer and in his future endeavours.

The California Public Utility Commission is a five-member panel tasked with “protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure at reasonable rates, with a commitment to environmental enhancement and a healthy California economy.”

 

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Genability Presents on Net Energy Metering at GTM Solar Market Insights Conference

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 12.08.55 PMGenability’s CEO, Jason Riley, recently spoke on a panel at the Greentech Media US Solar Market Insights Conference on “The Future of Net Energy Metering and Rate Design”.  Riley, joined by Matthew Freedman, The Utility Reform Network (TURN), Carrie Cullen Hitt, SVP, State Affairs, SEIA, Owen Smith, Principal, Rocky Mountain Institute and Moderator Shayle Kann, VP, GTM Research, discussed the future of NEM, electricity rates and the future of distributed solar.

The major points addressed were:

How should we appropriately value solar generation?

Will net energy metering always be the dominant paradigm in the US?

To what extent will electricity rate structures determine the competitiveness of solar?

For answers to all of these questions and more, check out the video here.

The conference, produced by GTM Research and SEIA, presented data, analysis and expert forecasting on the state of the US solar market.

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Obama’s Memorandum on Energy Management: What’s It Say?

Late last week, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum directing federal agencies to derive at least 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.  That’s double the current level!  The President included some necessary steps and also instructed agencies to incorporate Green Button data standard into their practices.

In case you didn’t spend all weekend reading the full memorandum, here are the highlights:

  • 20% by 2020.  This is the ultimate goal, however, the plan requires a few interim goals including a 10% target by 2015.
  • So how do we get there?  Beyond just delivering the targets, Obama offered a number of approved actions including installing renewable energy on-site and purchasing renewable energy certificates.
  • Energy Efficiency as well.  In addition to the renewable goals, Obama also instructed agencies to take measures such as installing energy and water meters, and then publicly disclosing the benchmark data.
  • Green Button Initiative & Progress.  In order to improve the agencies’ ability to understand and manage consumption, Obama wants all agencies to supply Green Button data.  In case you haven’t been following Green Button – it is an industry-driven response to a White House Initiative to provide utility customers with an easy way to access their own usage data.  As of today, 48 utilities servicing 60 million businesses and homes have committed to Green Button.  Of these, 42 million homes and businesses already  have access to their Green Button data.

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DOE Releases SunShot 9 Funding Opportunity

SunShot_logo

The Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative has just released the next funding opportunity, SunShot 9.  SunShot 9 will provide funding (non-dilutive capital) to early-stage companies who can decrease the soft costs of solar.  The DOE is looking for applications from companies developing tools that will decrease these costs in all technology areas.  There’s $10 MM in total funding with awards varying in size from $250,000 to $2,000,000.

Genability was a proud recipient of a SunShot 6 Award for our Solar Avoided Cost Solution.  Working with the DOE and the SunShot team was a great experience for Genability and we’d encourage any early stage solar company to apply.  Concept Papers are due January 13 so get to work!

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