France Tariff Triomphe

arc de triomphe Paris #1

We’re pleased to announce that Genability has added French residential utility rates to our database! Our list of covered countries now includes the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, South Korea, UK and France.  We plan to add coverage for Germany and Netherlands later this summer.

France Electricity Market Primer

Government-owned, Electricité de France (EDF) is the largest energy company in France, and along with its subsidiaries dominates all market sectors, including transmission (RTE), distribution (ERDF), generation and retail supply. EDF owns 80% of the country’s installed capacity and generates 86% of its electricity production. At the end of 2013, 91% of the country’s 28 million residential customers were under regulated tariffs mostly with EDF. And although customers have been able to select their retail provider from EDF and a few dozen smaller retail suppliers since 2007, most customers have remained with the incumbent EDF.

France is an unique market because of the significant proportion of commercial and residential buildings that utilize electric heating systems, as compared to other European countries with some estimates as high as 72% vs just 5% in Spain. In the winter and cold weather this creates a peak in demand usually around 7 pm, when people get home and turn on their heat, lights and appliances. France has sought to manage the demand with some conventional and some complex rate structures.

Ace of Base (wait, weren’t they Swedish?)

EDF’s regulated residential tariff, called tarif Bleu, actually comes in three different options. The first, which the majority of residential customers are on, is called “Option Base”. This consists of a flat consumption rate (€0.15/kWh) plus an annual fixed charge which is based on the customer’s power connection. These rates are fixed year-round and are the same across all regions of France. Option Base works best for low or high consumption customers with a highly variable load that cannot easily be shifted to a time of day, when a TOU rate might be more economical.

What Time-of-Use do you have?

The second Option is EDF’s time-of-use (TOU) offering, aka “Option Heures Pleines / Heures Creuses”. We got excited when we read this, as it is one of the more complex residential TOU tariffs we’ve seen to date. While rates themselves are pretty straightforward (€0.11/kWh Off-Peak, €0.16/kWh Peak, fixed seasonally and throughout the country), the complexity lies in the TOU period definitions. More specifically, the hours of the day that are characterized as “peak” and “off-peak” vary by region and can change over time in any single location. For example, a customer in Paris postal code 75001 may be assigned one of two time slots (off-peak hours from 11 pm – 7 am or 11:30 pm – 7:30 am). All other hours are considered peak. In comparison, a customer in Lyon postal code 69001 may be assigned one of three time slots (off-peak hours from 11 pm – 7 am or 11:30 pm – 7 am or 10 pm – 6 am). Based on our analysis, there are about 80 different TOU periods currently offered throughout the country. Customers cannot choose nor switch to a preferred time slot. They are created and assigned by the power distributor ERDF, according to the conditions and local capacity of the distribution network.

Tricolor Days

EDF

A year to date view of Option Tempo Coleur du jour – via EDF

We’ve saved the best for last. The third and final option is called “Option Tempo” and is a tariff with consumption rates that vary dynamically by “day type” and time of day. By “day type” we mean that the year is divided into 22 red days (most expensive), 43 white days, and 300 blue days (least expensive). The color of the day is announced a day in advance by EDF, and is closely related to the weather forecast, which in turn influences the expected demand for electricity on the grid. Unlike the TOU Option, the Tempo Tariff’s Off-peak hours are always 10 pm to 6am throughout the country. This tariff rewards customers that can curtail their load on the 22 days of the year when the grid is most stressed (typically January) with the lowest consumption rates  EDF has to offer on any tariff (€0.10/kWh Off-Peak, €0.115/kWh Peak). This tariff works best for customers with large loads and the flexibility to shift load on a day’s notice.

Allons-y!

All EDF’s residential Tariff Bleu options are now available to use in our APIs, including our Tariff APIs, Signal, Switch and Conduct. As with all other markets, we have not only the tariffs and their rates, but also complete TOU definitions, holiday and Tempo Day calendars, TOU regions and everything else you need to accurately calculate costs, savings and schedules in France.

We plan on adding coverage for Commercial and Industrial (C&I) Tariffs later in the year, as well as typical electricity and solar profiles for France. Stay tuned for an update.

Sign up today and bring transparency and clean power to France. If you are an existing customer you most likely already have access, but feel free to contact us if you have questions about licensing or permissions.

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New Net Metering Tariff Available for Nevada Energy

When Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed AB-405 on Friday he removed a great deal of uncertainty surrounding Net Metering in Nevada.  Under AB-405, new solar customers in Nevada are guaranteed a net metering credit for the next twenty years tied to the retail price of power.  Genability has already made the first version of this tariff available in our system as RS-NEM-95PCT : Residential Single-Family Net Meter – 95 Pct.  This is now available for our Switch customers to use as a post-solar tariff.

The new tariff structure compensates solar customers for power provided to the grid at 95% of the retail rate.  The true-up for this compensation happens at the end of each billing period and is guaranteed for the next 20 years.  The net metering credit begins at 95% and will decrease over time as each 80 MW blocks is filled. This replaces the previous rate structure, that compensated the customer at a fixed rate scheduled to decrease to only 5¢/kWh by 2020.

The new rate structure is now available via our APIs and our web applications, Dash and Explorer.  Once the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada makes the new NEM rate effective, we will enforce the post-solar tariff defaulting logic in the Switch API to ensure that your analyses reflect the newly required tariff.  We’re thrilled to see the Nevada market re-open and glad to do our part to help sell more solar in Nevada.

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Our 4 Action Items to Trump’s Paris Accord Withdrawal

Action Now (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Action Now (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord was a big gut punch for us at Genability. Since then, we’ve been thinking about what we can do to double our own efforts and impact the move to a clean energy future. We met today to agree on the following immediately actionable steps.

1. Free access to nonprofits and educators

As of today, we are providing our products and data for free to any and all non-profits and educators working directly on climate related initiatives. We’re also providing them for half price to all other non-profits and educators.

If you are working to drive smart policy and to educate with fact based evidence, contact us. We are here to help.

2. Early access to affordable plans for companies starting and growing

We are also providing exclusive access to a select number of companies to 2 new product plans we intended to roll out at the end of this year. These plans provide growing new energy companies with affordable access to all of our people, tools and data. We have 10 Start(er/up) plan spots for small teams and startups working on innovative new energy solutions. We also have 10 Growth plan spots for companies that are at the point where they require production level services but have ambitions to grow a lot more. We’ve historically concentrated on enterprise customers and larger utilities, but it will take a wide range of companies to drive new energy’s progress. We want to democratize access to accurate energy cost and savings data for all businesses.

If you are an ambitious team that want to take advantage of our data at attractive pricing, as well as get lots of hand holding and technical assistance to get you up and running, hurry and contact us to get one of these spots.

3. Expand the countries we cover

We’ve gotten very good at collecting electricity tariffs and calculating costs, so let’s do it everywhere. France, the home of the Paris Climate Accord, will be the next country we add tariff coverage for. Then, it’s looking like Germany and Netherlands will be added after that. All are active electric vehicle and new energy markets. We don’t intend to stop there. The electrification of transportation, the growing adoption of distributed solar and storage, and the needs for smarter grids is global.

If you are or want to be active in one of these (or other markets) contact us.

4. Raise a $300,000 investment

Genability continues to grow revenue to the point where we are very close to being cash flow positive on a monthly recurring revenue basis. We contemplated the trade-offs of moving slower while we get there vs. raising a small amount of equity. This galvanized us to action and we don’t want our wings clipped. Our goal is a raise of $300,000 to $500,000 in a convertible note to not miss a beat.

If you are an active investor in software and want very favorable terms investing in a solid company while also promoting clean energy, please give us a look. If not, tell someone who is and does. Review https://angel.co/genability for a summary then contact us to find out more.

 

These 4 steps are not the end of what we will do. We also agreed to continue to look for additional ways to amplify our impact. Ideas we are working on include:

  • Better ways to share our domain expertise with the community
  • Several technologies we can Open Source
  • Ways to proactively empower the ecosystem
  • How we as a company can walk the walk; things like becoming a B-corp, dedicating 20% time to initiatives, volunteering, reaching out more

We will continue to do our part for the goals of the Paris Climate Accord.

We are still in.

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Welcome our newest Gena-baby

Congratulations to Allie, Eric and their new baby girl, Mille.

One-sie!

One-sie!

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Today Genability Engineering made me immensely proud

We don’t like to blow our own trumpet at Genability too much. But on lucky days something happens that just stops in your tracks, and makes you feel immensely proud of the team you get to work with every day. Today was one of those days, and I’d like to share why with you.

On day two of our current sprint, John Tucker, our intrepid VP of Data & Operations threw our Engineering team a curve-ball. Scribd announced that they were shutting down their APIs. Without needlessly getting into too much back story, these APIs going away in less that 2 weeks represented a big deal. Fast forward to yesterday, day 11 of the very same sprint, and John’s teams’ platform was completely migrated off Scribd. In production. Without a hitch. Zero downtime. Needless to say John, myself and the entire company were very impressed. John said it best…

From : John Tucker
To : All Staff
Subject : Scribd Migration

Huge shout out to the Eng team on the Scribd Migration! For those who are unfamiliar, we discovered last Tuesday (5/2) that the Scribd was shutting down their API on 5/15. We were going to lose API access to all the utility documents we’ve collected over the past 6.5 years, the ability to view the documents in our data entry tool and the ability to display documents in Apps and Explore.

Yesterday (5/11)  Engineering completed the migration from Scribd to AWS.  This migration included exporting all of the documents from Scribd to AWS and changing all of our tools to use data from the new location. (task workflow, flex form, apps, Explore, and I’m sure many more parts of the code).  Most impressively, this transition was practically seamless for our customers, our freelancers and us here.

This was an enormously successful effort, so kudos to the team for getting it done!

John
Vice President, Data & Operations

The results Engineering achieved were impressive, as was the time they did it in. But for me even more impressive was how they did it:
  • No all-nighters. No working over the weekend.
    Our engineers are a dedicated bunch and always prepared to go above and beyond, but as a company we value what we call “make-life-work”. We have kids, commitments and a life outside the office.
  • Infrastructure, Process and Knowledge investments proven.
    By paying attention for years to the things that make the team flexible and agile; great testing and coverage, continuous integration, flexible build environments, automation, shared knowledge and much more; Engineering was able to adjust and move quickly with low risk and high effectiveness.
  • Collaboration. Design Driven. Without Drama.
    We value collaboration and a design driven approach. However, tight deadlines can make it tempting to abandon good practice. Engineering didn’t. They just ditched the drama and did what they do best. Keep talking, designing, implementing.
  • All while still achieving the goal of the sprint!
    We also had an important new feature in this sprint. While we quickly trimmed scope to just the core of what was needed, we didn’t have to trim any further. Crisis averted AND sprint shippable!

It is testimony to the great work Engineering did long before this curve-ball. Like a lot of smart people, including Vanilla Ice, the team knows it takes years of groundwork to look like an overnight success. And I couldn’t be more proud of them.

Please take a bow (in alphabetical order):

homer is excited

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The Latest Additions to the Genability Developer Network and our APIs

Over the last 6 months or so we have put quite a bit of work into improving the documentation on our Genability Developer Network (GDN) site. This reflects some of the improvements and additions to our suite of APIs, including better ways to calculate actual solar savings and to use our latest calculation endpoints. It also includes content improvements across the board, including our Tutorials (which help you understand major use cases), our How-To section (which dives into details on specific topics), and the API References (denoting all endpoints and their requests and responses).

Here’s a round-up of what we’ve been working on.

New Actual Savings Tutorial

Switch now includes the ability to calculate actual savings for homeowners with solar. Actual Savings can be an add-on to your estimated solar savings tools and can be integrated into self-service platforms, such as customer websites and mobile applications, or integrated into customer support tools. The Actual Savings Tutorial on our Genability Developer Network walks you through four steps to calculate actual savings using the homeowner’s electricity usage and solar production data. We calculate the savings using actual rates and you can display this information wherever you need.

Improvements to our How-To Section

We have added more topics to our How-To section. The topics include forecasting savings with storage, selecting the right utility and tariff for a customer, and incorporating taxes in a calculation.

Include Storage When Forecasting Savings

This How-To goes over how to quote Solar PV systems with behind-the-meter energy storage for our Switch customers. Including energy storage in your quotes involves additional steps to the current process of forecasting savings with solar. In this How-To, we show you how to align the charge and discharge schedule of the battery with the homeowner’s future electricity usage and estimated solar production data. We also discuss different processes you will take depending on whether the utility requires dual register meters post-solar.

Selecting the Right Utility and Tariff

It is important that the correct utility and tariff are used in cost calculations and savings analyses as costs can vary considerably between tariffs and utilities. This How-To explains how to select the correct utility and tariff for a given customer. It denotes the similarities and differences that are a result of whether you are using Accounts for Account Cost Calculations and Savings Analyses, or you are running On-Demand Cost Calculations.

Taxes

This How-To walks you through the various ways you can incorporate tax rates into our calculations. This includes how to pass in the tax rates in a request for our Signal API and how to set the tax rates on Accounts.

New Calculation Endpoints

We have built some next generation calculation endpoints which focus on accuracy and faster performance in order to facilitate our new Signal product and more powerful “what-if” calculations.

Account Cost Calculation

We have added the Account Cost Calculation endpoint as the latest addition to our Account API.

The Account Cost Calculation endpoint is useful for our Switch customers to calculate the forecasted savings and actual savings with solar. This endpoint calculates costs for a given amount of usage over a specified period of time. This can be used to calculate an electricity bill or to calculate a “what-if” scenario for solar.

Our Intelligent Baselining (IB) feature is available on our Account Cost Calculation endpoint. IB moves historical usage to a time in the future and estimates annual usage data from at least one month of usage. The IB feature in the Account Cost Calculation endpoint is useful to forecast savings.

Signal API

We have also added an On-demand Cost Calculation endpoint and an On-demand Mass Calculation endpoint as a part of Signal, our rate engine product. The On-demand Cost Calculation endpoint runs costs for a single case such as a historical bill, a month-to-date cost forecast, or a “what-if” scenario for solar. The On-demand Mass Calculation endpoint can run up to 20 scenarios at once for a given customer’s usage and rate inputs. This endpoint is ideal for tariff rate plan comparisons and optimizations.

Here are some new features with our On-demand endpoints:

  • You can add your own, custom time of use definition to the Genability database to use in a calculation
  • You can run a calculation with a single, specified version of a given tariff

Using Our Latest APIs

Visit our Genability Developer Network for more information on the Actual Savings Tutorial, How-Tos, Account Cost Calculation, and Signal API.

If you are interested in our Switch or Signal products, please reach out to sales@genability.com today!

Posted in API, Commercial and Industrial, Residential, Signal, Switch | Leave a comment

Switch, Solar and New Energy Round Up for 2017

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.

DividendDividendFinance, 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.

 

 

sunovaSunnova, 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.

Untitled-1

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 at sales@genability.com, 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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Speaking about TOU Rates at the Smart Energy Summit

For the 5th consecutive year Genability attended the Smart Energy Summit conference in Austin, TX. And it’s not just the BBQ that keeps bringing us back! SES focuses on home energy management, consumer technology, IOT and utilities.

We were thrilled to be asked to present at this year’s conference. Genability’s Eric Danziger sat on a panel during Tuesday’s conference titled “Consumer Behaviors and Variable Rate Plans: Challenges and Opportunities”. The panel group addressed new rate plans such as “free nights and weekends” and TOU adoption. The session examined the adoption of variable pricing plans, demand charges, their implementation, and the opportunities they create for all solution providers.

The panel included great folks from some really interesting companies:

ROC-Connect / Kevin Meagher
www.roc-connect.com
ROC provides a “Smart Home as a Service” product and is focusing on the home IoT platform. The company is hardware and device agnostic and aiming to connect all of the devices in the home to one central platform.

Griddy Energy / Gregory Craig
www.gogriddy.com
Griddy is launching as a new retail energy provider (REP) in the Texas market. The “Uber of Electricity”, they are purchasing power directly from ERCOT and selling power at a flat rate of $0.49 per day! Griddy will also provide customers with “surge pricing” alerts. The company officially launches their new product in April. If you live in Texas, you’ll like their spoof: www.powertoconfuse.org

Stem / Matt Owens
www.stem.com
A leader in commercial energy storage and also a Genability customer, Stem provides energy storage systems to the commercial and industrial market, as well as utilities. They are currently operating in California, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Hawaii and focus on financing, monitoring and customer acquisition.

Thanks again to Parks Associates for another great conference! We look forward to attending again next year and seeing where TOU rates are then!

 

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California’s Commitment to Clean Energy

If you believe that we should convert our electricity to renewable sources, the Golden State has a new bill that we recommend you consider supporting, sb-584. This legislation introduced last week would have California to get 100% its electricity from solar, wind and renewable sources by 2045.

If you would like to support this initiative, you can start by calling your CA State Representatives. You can find their contact info here. It took me just a few minutes this morning to call mine – Scott Weiner and Phil Ting, at their Sacramento offices.

And if you would like to do more and have fun while doing so, you can head to Equinox next month on March 24, 2017 and support Vote Solar. They are an organization that works everyday with state and local legislators to promote clean renewable energy policy.

 

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Genability at DistribuTech 2017

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 5.05.57 PMDistribuTech, the annual exhibition and conference for all things electric power transmission and distribution was held in San Diego earlier this month. Genability attended for the 1st time this year after the launch of our newest product Signal. Signal was designed for utilities and is the fastest, most accurate utility rate-engine in the market.

We headed to the conference to talk products, catch up customers and check out all the new technology. The theme for this year’s event was “Decentralization, Decarbonization and Digitization” and we are excited to see the new industry focus on commercial energy management and see the various use-cases and applications for our products across traditional Distributed Generation companies and utilities.

We met in person with our customers and exhibitors:

Opower Oracle. This was the 1st conference for Opower and Oracle post the Oracle acquisition. Opower’s booth included their traditional digital engagement services, coupled with Oracle’s reach and customer support applications.
Bidgely. A long time customer, it was great to see some of Bidgely’s applications in action. With a focus on mobile digital engagement, Bidgely partners with utilities to provide residential customers with rate switching opportunities, savings presentment and bill payment.
Stem. Stem sells commercial storage applications direct to utilities, as well as direct to commercial customers. They highlighted both applications at the event, including the geographical expansion outside of California.
Ecova & Green Charge Networks. Both part of the Engie family, Ecova and GCN had a single booth to present the shared commercial application of Commercial storage and commercial utility bill management.
Shell Energy. With its recent release of Shell New Energies, Shell is exploring deeper ways to enage with end customers. In addition to partnering with Genability, Shell also engaged with AMS to sell storage direct to C&I customers.

You can check out some of their fantastic booths in a photo album here:

We’re excited about what lies ahead in the utility market. Genability’s first products, Switch and Conduct were developed directly for solar and storage companies. Now with the addition of Signal and convergence of the utility space with Distributed Generation Resources, Genability is perfectly positioned to help the New Energy Companies and Utilities. We have been waiting for the convergence of these industries for some time and excited to see it coming to life!

Thanks for a great conference and we look forward to seeing everyone again at DistribuTech next year!

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