Introducing Proposed Tariffs

Proposed Tariffs in Explorer

Genability is pleased to announce the immediate availability of both a new product feature and a new set of tariff data.

What are Proposed Tariffs?

This year the California Public Utility Commission approved General Rate Cases for both Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison. These rates won’t go into effect until 2019, but when they do the Time of Use periods will change quite significantly for the majority of commercial and industrial customers. Our new energy companies need to assess the impact of these change right now to be ready for the transition. California is not the first market, and won’t be the last, to consider and implement sizable structural changes to tariffs. To address this need, today we are making available Proposed Tariffs.

Our Proposed Tariffs feature allows you to use our complete set of tools to calculate the costs and savings of tariffs that are not yet published and live, such as those mentioned above. You can do all the same things with proposed tariffs as you can with published ones. We’re excited to say that Proposed Tariffs are available now as an optional subscription for any enterprise customer.

What Proposed Tariffs do we Model?

Our first Propose Tariffs are the time of use commercial tariffs for both PG&E (A-10, E-19, E-20) and SCE (TOU-GS-1, TOU-GS-2, TOU-GS-3, TOU-8).   In the future, when tariffs in major markets are redesigned Genability will model them as Proposed Tariffs.  In addition to being in a major market, the tariff redesign must be approved by the local utility commission before we model the new tariff.

A redesigned tariff might have new charge types introduced (e.g. a new ratchet demand charge), charge types removed, new seasons or time of use periods and increasingly new rules for compensating solar customers for electricity provided to the grid.  All of these scenarios can trigger a proposed tariff. A simple rate increase or decrease rarely warrants a proposed tariff.

How do I use Proposed Tariffs?

You can retrieve Proposed Tariffs both in Explorer and all of our APIs where currently access other tariffs . You do not need to call new APIs or log into new web applications. There is one key difference, however. In both Explorer and our APIs you have to explicitly ask for Proposed Tariffs to be included. We’ve made it an explicit opt-in request parameter to make sure you don’t accidently use Proposed Tariffs when you don’t want or expect to.

In the Tariff API, you can request Proposed Tariffs by including the value PROPOSED in the parameter tariffTypes. This allows you to just get proposed tariff, or to have them included with other tariffs too. Here’s a sample call for PG&E:

GET /rest/public/tariffs?lseId=734&tariffTypes=PROPOSED

This will provide you with the Master Tariff Id of the PROPOSED tariff which you can then use as you would any other tariff in the Calculate API, Account API or other Tariff APIs.  Once you have the Master Tariff ID, you can use it like any other tariff to run calculations, set on an account and any other way you use a current tariffs in our APIs

What is the Lifecycle of a Proposed Tariff?

Proposed Tariffs exist for the period between when the utility commission has approved the redesign and the tariff becomes effective.   As such it has its own, new Master Tariff Id that is not connected directly to either the preceding tariff or the tariff that becomes effective.   Instead, you can use the tariff properties precedingMasterTariffId and succeedingMasterTariffId to determine the tariff it replaces (preceding) and the tariff it becomes (succeeding).

When the Proposed Tariff becomes effective, the Proposed Tariff will be marked as Closed and end-dated.  You can still run calculations against the tariff, but it Proposed Tariff will no longer appear in standard Tariff requests.  

There are several ways that the utility can introduce a redesigned tariff.  In the table below, we outline how we handle the different methods of transitioning to new tariff structures.

Scenario Redesigned Tariff Legacy Tariff
Utility grandfathers existing customers to legacy tariff Gets a new Master Tariff Id Keeps the original Master Tariff Id and is “Closed”
Utility switches existing customer to redesigned tariff, some customers can remain on legacy tariff Inherits the legacy Master Tariff Id Gets a new Master Tariff Id that is “Closed” and is labelled “Granfathered”
Utility switches all existing customers to redesigned tariff, no exceptions Inherits the legacy Master Tariff Id There is no legacy tariff.


Can I Use Proposed Tariffs?

Proposed Tariffs are made available to your organization on an application basis.  This allows you to enable Proposed Tariffs for some of your applications (e.g. your analyst team) while excluding Proposed Tariffs for other (e.g. your production integration).

Proposed Tariffs is an optional subscription for Genability’s enterprise customers.  If you think your team would benefit from Proposed Tariffs, contact your company’s account owner to confirm or arrange access.

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Genability Adds Support for PVWatts Version 6

What’s new in V6?

We’ve added support for Version 6 of NREL’s PVWatts API, used to estimate the hourly production of a customer’s solar PV system. The underlying models used to calculate energy output have not changed from Version 5 but Version 6 includes broader and more granular weather and solar radiation data from NREL’s National Solar Radiation Database (NSRDB).

The NSRDB dataset includes climate data for the Americas between 20° S and 60° N (including Hawaii), as well as the Indian subcontinent and parts of Central Asia, as indicated on the map.

nsrdb-psm-coverage-map

Within the coverage areas, solar and weather data are now available for each 4 km x 4 km land area (AKA “gridded data”). This means Version 6 offers production results for about 2 million different locations, versus only 239 TMY2 stations and 1,020 TMY3 stations. The bottom line is you can now model solar production in places you previously couldn’t (like most of Canada, all of Mexico, and the northern half of South America) and production results will be for an area much closer and more suitable to your site location.

You can still opt for any of the older climate datasets (TMY2, TMY3, or International) but you have to explicitly override the NSRDB dataset, which is the default in Version 6. To continue using the same climate data as in Version 5, you should pass the climateDataset parameter as tmy2 in your PVWatts API calls.

Version 6 also includes a change in the default DC to AC ratio from 1.1 to 1.2. To continue using the Version 5 default (1.1) or a different value, you should explicitly pass the DCACRatio parameter and desired value in your API calls.

V6 Production Comparisons

Curious how system production output changed in Version 6? So were we, so we ran a few tests. The table below compares annual production output between Versions 5 and 6 in top solar markets, assuming identical system design parameters, except the two new defaults in Version 6 (NSRDB dataset and a DC to AC ratio of 1.2).

The first seven locations (San Francisco to Santa Cruz) roughly cover the SF Bay Area. Version 5 returned identical energy production for all seven locations (all use the closest TMY2 station data from SF International Airport). Version 6 results varied for each location, demonstrating the more granular data available in the NSRDB dataset.

Across the 26 U.S. locations we tested, Version 6 returned 2.6% higher annual production than Version 5, on average. Version 6 showed the largest positive difference in Miami (+7.5%) and negative difference in Daly City (-3.4%). Daly City is one of the foggiest places in the Bay Area and the NSRDB dataset seems to better reflect its microclimate than the TMY2 station at SFO Airport, which is more inland and sees more sunshine.

Location Zip Code V5 (kWh) V6 (kWh) V6 Change
San Francisco, CA 94105 7,788 7,801 0.2%
Daly City, CA 94014 7,788 7,523 -3.4%
San Rafael, CA 94901 7,788 7,882 1.2%
Oakland, CA 94609 7,788 7,712 -1.0%
Concord, CA 94518 7,788 8,029 3.1%
San Jose, CA 95126 7,788 8,086 3.8%
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 7,788 7,847 0.8%
Los Angeles, CA 90001 7,910 8,259 4.4%
San Diego, CA 92101 8,039 7,868 -2.1%
Las Vegas, NV 88901 8,801 8,578 -2.5%
Reno, NV 89501 8,159 8,263 1.3%
Phoenix, AZ 85001 8,605 8,496 -1.3%
Salt Lake City, UT 84101 7,488 7,319 -2.3%
Denver, CO 80014 7,696 8,111 5.4%
Albuquerque, NM 87101 8,917 8,778 -1.6%
Austin, TX 73301 7,369 7,330 -0.5%
Miami, FL 33101 7,257 7,799 7.5%
Charleston, SC 29401 7,206 7,198 -0.1%
Charlotte, NC 28105 7,099 7,014 -1.2%
Baltimore, MD 21201 6,644 6,879 3.5%
New York, NY 10001 6,410 6,585 2.7%
Brooklyn, NY 11203 6,611 6,889 4.2%
Newark, NJ 07101 6,410 6,624 3.3%
Boston, MA 02112 6,664 6,531 -2.0%
Hartford, CT 06101 6,259 6,423 2.6%
Chicago, IL 60007 6,420 6,884 7.2%

Your Integration with Genability

If you are currently integrated to use Version 5 of Genability’s PVWatts API, nothing has changed on the Genability end. However, NREL has announced that Version 5 will be shut down at the end of December 2018. To avoid disruptions in service, users should switch to Version 6 before then.

To switch to Version 6, simply update the sourceVersion parameter value to 6 in your Genability PVWatts API calls. The sourceVersion parameter is optional and when not included we default it to 6. If you want to switch to Version 6 but would like to continue receiving the same production results you were seeing in Version 5, pass the sourceVersion as 6, climateDataset as tmy2, and DCACRatio as 1.1. Here’s our PVWatts API documentation and some helpful examples. With Version 5 going away on 1/1/2019, now’s the time to make the transition to Version 6. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email support@genability.com.

 

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Explorer : our latest product, for energy professionals everywhere

Today we are pleased to announce the launch of our latest product, Genability Explorer, a web-application for Energy Professionals.

The new Explorer is here

The new Explorer is here

Explorer provides energy professionals a user-friendly interface into Genability’s utility rate database and calculation engine. Explorer requires no software development or coding. It’s a self-service web-application, so just use your web browser to sign up and go. We’ve designed it to be as intuitive to use as your favorite websites, and yet as powerful and as accurate as the tools we provide to our enterprise customers.

So what can you do with Explorer?

Comprehensive Utility Rate Database

For starters, Explorer is backed by our electricity pricing tariff database, so you can search and access our rich set of data of utilities, their tariff rate plans, as well as their territories, times-of-use and seasons. We have their holiday schedules, critical peak pricing events, and in many cases their meter reading (billing period) dates. The rates we capture have all the details needed to match your customers’ bills, understand complex net metering rules, and what-if any energy project. All in one central location. We maintain the rates and keep them up-to-date so you don’t have to.

Powerful Rate Engine

Explorer also allows you to run calculations on our utility rate engine, again from directly within your web browser. This is the same utility rate engine that our utility and new energy customers use to run millions of calculations (including Pacific Gas & Electric, Tesla, Sunrun, EnerNOC and lots of others). Just select your tariff, optionally refine with your additional rate criteria, and specify your usage. For usage data, you can use our typical building profiles, or quickly enter the quantities from your bill. You can even paste in meter data in CSV format from your Excel spreadsheet. Results are instantaneous, and you can get back details broken down into flexible granularities and time intervals.

14 Day Free Trial

The best way to really understand the power of Explorer is to use it. So we have a 14-day free trial for you to do just that! This trial has no strings attached. During the trial, you can see exactly the same utilities and tariffs that a paying subscription would see, and access all the same functionality. Just sign up for a Genability User account, and create an Organization (existing customers can also start a trial – see the end of this blog post for details).

Plans Available for After your Free Trial

You have no commitment to become a customer when your 14 day trial has ended. But should you wish to, we are launching Explorer with one simple “Self Service Pro” plan. This is designed for teams that needs frequent, daily online access to our data and calculator. It includes unlimited users, so you can invite anyone within your team or company at no additional cost. It also includes unlimited access to our USA electricity tariffs. Finally it also includes unlimited calculations during the first 3 months of the subscription. Your team can run any number of calculations without the worry of incurring any additional costs. After three months the Pro plan then includes 1,000 calculations a month. The Self Service Pro plan is $499 per month (USD).

We will be rolling out a variety of Self Service plans at different price points and different tariff and calculation allocation levels later this year. Customers can choose the right plan for them. All our Self Service plans require no obligation, so customers can cancel or switch between plans at any time. Changes or cancellations become effective at the end of the month you change or cancel your plan.

Next for Explorer: Additional Markets & Functionality

Along with additional pricing plans, over the next few months we will be rolling out a number of exciting upgrades to Explorer. These will include new markets (today the Explorer Self Service Pro Plan gives access to our USA data). We also have a series of feature upgrades in development or planning. We’re excited to see and hear what customers’ experiences are using Explorer, and as always will prioritize your feedback and suggestions in our product roadmap. Let us know!

More Self Service Products in the Works

This release of Explorer is exciting for us in another way too. It marks the first in a series of product releases targeted at new classes of customer. Historically our product offerings have been focused on enterprise customers who have their own proprietary energy platform along with a software engineering teams and high transactional volumes that our APIs are built to handle. Our goal is to make our capabilities accessible and valuable for all segments of the new energy community, and this release of Explorer is an important step towards that goal.

You can read more about Explorer on our website. Or better yet, go sign up for a free trial! It’s simple, obligation free, and doesn’t even require a credit card.

A note to existing Genability customers. As a Genability customer you already have an Organization set up, and you probably already have a Genability user account. To start your free trial, just log into the Dash site here and click on the Explorer Free trial button.

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New Solar Incentives in Illinois, Net Metering Ends for Duke Energy South Carolina

The roller coaster for solar in the U.S. (call it a Solar Coaster?) keeps rolling this summer.  The state of Illinois has finalized the credit values for its Adjustable Block Program, which provides solar owners with an upfront payment for 15 years of estimated solar production.  Meanwhile, in South Carolina the state legislature failed to increase the net metering cap and Duke Energy has met its 2% limit. Starting on August 1, 2018 full net metering closes for Duke Energy SC customers and will be replaced by the Purchased Power Rider. First the good news for solar developers:

Adjustable Block Program in Illinois

In June the Illinois Power Agency published the final values for the Adjustable Block Program(ABP), and Genability has published the ABP incentives for your use. For those who are unfamiliar, the ABP offers a per kWh credit for the first 15 years of estimated solar production to be paid upon interconnection for systems under 10 kW.  The amount of the credit varies according to utility and system size and is in addition to the customer’s monthly net metering credits.

Commonwealth Edison Ameren – Illinois Mid American – Illinois
Under 10 kW 7.297¢/kWh 8.51¢/kWh 8.51¢/kWh
10 – 25 kW 7.323¢/kWh 7.87¢/kWh 7.87¢/kWh

The Illinois Power Agency has selected a program administrator and is expected to start accepting applications for the program this fall. We have made these incentives available via our API to allow our customers to include the ABP in their savings calculations ahead of the program’s official opening.

End of Net Metering for Duke Energy – South Carolina

This spring it seemed that the South Carolina legislature was prepared to increase the Net Metering cap in South Carolina from 2% to 4%, but the bill that emerged from committee did not up the cap.  On August 1st, Duke Energy will close Net Metering and move solar customers onto the Purchased Power Rider that compensates solar customers at a lower rate for power provided to the grid.  Due to the earlier merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy, Duke Energy currently maintains two sets of rates within South Carolina (and North Carolina), thus the two columns in the table below:

Duke Energy Duke Energy (formerly Progress)
Fixed Charge $11.07 $8.05
Summer On-Peak Credit $0.1035 $0.0963
Summer Off-Peak Credit $0.0334 $0.0346
Winter On-Peak Credit $0.0661 $0.0611

For all of Duke Energy, On-Peak is defined as 1 PM to 9 PM in the Summer and 6 AM to 1 PM in the Winter, aligning reasonably well with the peak hours of solar production. Genability has created new Purchased Power Rider versions of all Duke Energy SC tariffs and will make them the default post-solar tariff in our Switch API on August 1.

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Massachusetts SMART Incentives Now Available

Later this year, Massachusetts will close out it’s SREC program replacing it with the new Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) incentives.   While there are still a few details left to be finalized, Genability is able to model the proposed SMART incentives for our customers and has made the new incentives available via the Incentives API.

What are the Smart Incentives

The new SMART Incentives guarantee solar customers a fixed compensation rate for every kWh produced by their solar system over the first ten years, called the Base Compensation Rate.  The Base Compensation Rate varies by utility territory and will decrease over time as each tranche is completed.  Here are the initial Base Compensation Rates:

Utility Base Compensation Rate (Tranche 1)
Fitchburg Gas & Electric d/b/a Unitil $0.31126
Massachusetts Electric d/b/a National Grid $0.31126
Nantucket Electric d/b/a National Grid $0.34000
NSTAR d/b/a Eversource Energy $0.34000
WMECO d/b/a Eversource Energy $0.28576

How SMART Incentives are Applied

While the customer is guaranteed the full Base Compensation Rate for all kWh produced by their solar system, they will actually get two credits on their utility bill under the SMART incentive program.  The first credit is the traditional Net Metering credit that solar customer receive in Massachusetts.  This doesn’t change from the current regime.

The second credit, called the Solar Incentive Payment, will be the difference between the Base Compensation Rate and the Value of Energy.  This Solar Incentive Payment will be applied to the customer’s bill as a credit, effectively topping up the Value of Energy to the level of the Base Compensation Rate.

Genability has modeled the Solar Incentive Payment in its SMART Incentives.  Since the Solar Incentive Payment represents a top-up on the Value of Energy, its value changes not just by utility but also by tariff.   In the table below are all the permutations of SMART incentives along with the customer attributes that indicate eligibility.

Incentive Base Compensation Rate Value of Energy Solar Incentive Payment Eligibility Parameter(s)
Behind the Meter Smart Incentive for Eversource – Cambridge – Tranche 1 $0.34000 $0.18734 $0.15266
Behind the Meter Smart Incentive for Eversource – Cambridge, Electric Heat – Tranche 1 $0.34000 $0.19820 $0.14180 hasElectricSpaceHeater=true
Behind the Meter Smart Incentive for Eversource – Greater Boston – Tranche 1 $0.34000 $0.18520 $0.15480
Behind the Meter Smart Incentive for Eversource – Greater Boston, Electric Heat – Tranche 1 $0.34000 $0.17550 $0.16450 hasElectricSpaceHeater=true
Behind the Meter Smart Incentive for Eversource – South Shore/Cape Cod – Tranche 1 $0.34000 $0.19698 $0.14302
Behind the Meter Smart Incentive for Eversource – South Shore/Cape Cod, Electric Heat – Tranche 1 $0.34000 $0.17350 $0.16650 hasElectricSpaceHeater=true
Behind the Meter Smart Incentive for Eversource – Western Mass – Tranche 1 $0.32862 $0.22779 $0.10083
Behind the Meter Smart Incentive for Eversource – Western Mass, Electric Heat – Tranche 1 $0.32862 $0.22750 $0.10112 hasElectricSpaceHeater=true
Behind the Meter Smart Incentive for Eversource – Western Mass, Electric Heat, Low Income – Tranche 1 $0.32862 $0.22094 $0.10768 hasElectricSpaceHeater=true, lowIncomeCustomer=true
Behind the Meter Smart Incentive for Eversource – Western Mass, Low Income – Tranche 1 $0.32862 $0.22109 $0.10753 lowIncomeCustomer=true
Behind the Meter Smart Incentive for National Grid – R4 – Tranche 1 $0.31126 $0.20848 $0.10278 r4SmartIncentiveEligible=true
Behind the Meter Smart Incentive for National Grid – Tranche 1 $0.31126 $0.19905 $0.11221
Behind the Meter Smart Incentive for Unitil – Massachusetts Tranche 1 $0.31126 $0.22535 $0.08591

Including SMART Incentives in your Proposals

Now that the SMART Incentives are available via the Incentives API, you can begin including them in your solar savings proposals.  For each month or year in your lifetime savings calculation, you will multiply your solar production by the Solar Incentive Payment for the first ten years to reflect the SMART incentive compensation.

While the SMART Incentive program is not expected to open officially until August or September of 2018, Genability is making these incentives available in our API so that you can get your interconnection paper work started before the program goes into effect.  So don’t delay, calculate your customer’s savings in Massachusetts using the SMART incentives today!

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Duke Energy North Carolina Solar Incentives Now Available

At 9 AM this morning (July 9, 2018), Duke Energy North Carolina started accepting incentive applications for their Solar Rebate program and Genability has made the new incentive available via our Incentives API.

The new Solar Rebate offers a $0.60/Watt rebate up to 10 kW for residential solar customers and 100 kW for commercial customers.  You will need to move quickly to take advantage of this incentive, the cap on this incentive is just 20 MW across both Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress.

The NC Solar Rebate is the first of many new solar incentives being released this summer.  Keep an eye on our blog for the next incentive announcement. Want to learn more about how to work with incentives? Try our Incentives How-To on our developer website.

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Genability Ends our Exclusivity

We have an exciting announcement. Genability is now open for business to any and all new energy companies servicing commercial and industrial customers. Today we have lifted all restrictions that might have prevented you from working with us in the past.

one-does-not-simply

Innovative New Energy Bundling in C&I

This is an exciting development as we are seeing a growing market for bundled offerings from non-regulated, new energy C&I providers. More and more new energy companies are providing their commercial or industrial customers innovative, tailored combinations of on-site efficiency technologies like smart lighting, heating and cooling, with distributed generation and storage, and aligned power procurement. They are more accessible to customers through innovative financing options and are managed via connected software. To sell and deliver these products, new energy companies need a combination of our capabilities. Before today figuring out which pieces were restricted and which weren’t made our sales process complicated to the point we had decided to leave the sector alone for a while. Not anymore! As of today, we now provide our tariff data, rate engine calculations, and in fact all our offerings to anyone and everyone.

Open for Business

In short, it’s go time. How can we help you? Any and all of you. Our products are at your service.

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New Hawaii Solar Programs – Smart Export and Customer Grid Supply Plus

Starting on 2/20/2018, the three Hawaiian investor-owned utilities will offer two new programs for customers with solar: Customer Grid Supply Plus and Smart Export.  Both programs offer export credits for power provided to the grid, an option that has not been available in Hawaii since the Customer Grid Supply programs closed in 2017. Genability has just made these two programs available for Hawaiian Electric Co (HECO), Hawaiian Electric Light Co (HELCO) and Maui Electric Co (MECO) for use in your solar proposals.

Customer Grid Supply Plus

The Customer Grid Supply Plus (CGSP) program, like the Customer Grid Supply (CGS) program it replaces,  provides solar customers with an export credit for power provided to the grid.   Here are the new (lower) export credits under CGSP:

  • O’ahu 10.08¢/kWh
  • Hawai’i Island 10.55¢/kWh
  • Maui 12.17¢/kWh
  • Moloka’i 16.77¢/kWh
  • Lana’i 20.8¢/kWh

In addition, customers enrolled in the CGSP program must have “new equipment that allows the electric utility to manage power from the system when necessary to maintain a stable grid”.

To support the CGSP program Genability has created new versions of all the residential tariffs in HECO, HELCO and MECO.  They can be identified by the tariff code ( “-CGSP) and tariff name ( “, Customer Grid Supply Plus”).  For example, the new tariff for HECO’s default residential offer is: R-SE: Residential – Smart Export

Smart Export

The Smart Export (SE) program is a completely new structure for the Hawaiian utilities that requires the customer to have energy storage installed.  With storage, the utility will provide solar customers with higher export credits, but only outside of peak-solar hours.  Any exports to the grid between 9 AM and 4 PM receive no credit, while exports to the grid between 4 PM and 9 AM are credited at the rates below:

  • O’ahu 14.97¢/kWh
  • Hawai’i Island 11¢/kWh
  • Maui 14.41¢/kWh
  • Moloka’i 16.64¢/kWh
  • Lana’i 20.79¢/kWh

Genability has created new Smart Export versions of each residential tariff in HECO, HELCO and MECO. They can be identified by the tariff code (+ “-SE) and tariff name (+ “, Smart Export”).  For example, the new tariff for HECO’s default residential offer is: R-CGSP: Residential – Customer Grid Supply Plus

Solar Savings Calculations

Customer Grid Supply Plus and Smart Export both require the customer to install a dual register meter to allow for instantaneous netting of imports from and exports to the grid.  With a dual register meter, the utility measures imports and exports in real time rather than by 15 minute or hourly intervals.  Genability models the intra-hour variability when calculating solar savings.  Visit our blog post Accurate Savings Forecasts: California’s NEM 2.0 & Hawaii’s Customer Grid Supply to learn more about how we do it.

Impact on Solar Savings

Finally the most important question, how do these new programs impact customer savings with solar?  Genability has run savings calculations for typical residential customers with solar systems that offset 80% of the customer load.

Utility Customer Self Supply Customer Grid Supply Plus
HECO 13.3¢/kWh 16.5¢/kWh
HELCO 16.7¢/kWh 23.2¢/kWh
MECO (Maui) 14.6¢/kWh 22.0¢/kWh
MECO (Moloka’i) 19.2¢/kWh 27.0¢/kWh
MECO (Lana’i) 19.9¢/kWh 29.4¢/kWh

As you can see getting export credits, even at a considerable discount from the retail rate, greatly improves the avoided cost of power (ACP) throughout Hawaii.  We did not calculate the typical ACP for the Smart Export tariff because the charge/discharge strategy for the battery will drive a significant portion of the savings.

It’s encouraging to see the economics of solar get better in Hawaii.  We look forward to seeing lots of proposals run through our APIs.  Happy quoting!

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Estimating kWh from a Potential Solar Customer’s Bill Amount

Do you have a potential solar customer’s 12 months of bills or their annual bill amount for electricity? If so, we can now estimate energy usage from that information!

It is quite common for potential solar customers to not know how much energy they are using but to have an idea of how much they are paying for electricity. For situations like this, Genability’s Bill Solve feature in our Calculate API is a useful tool for our Switch customers. After creating a site for your potential customer in our API, you can enter the cost of the customer’s bill and our calculator will estimate their electricity usage. You can then use this kWh value to run solar savings calculations.

Our Switch customers found a lot of value in estimating electricity usage for a single monthly bill through our Bill Solve feature so we made it more useful by upgrading this feature to work for annual bill amounts too! Now for situations where potential solar customers know how much they spend annually on electricity, you can use our Bill Solve feature to estimate the customer’s annual kWh.

Although we support estimating annual kWh based on annual bill amounts, the more specific information you provide to the Bill Solve, the more precise the customer’s electricity usage will be. Here is a list of Bill Solve methods ranked in order from the most precise method to the least precise method:

  1. Turn the monthly bill cost into monthly kWh using the exact billing period dates (e.g., 7/13/2017 to 8/12/2017)
  2. Turn the monthly bill cost into monthly kWh using approximate billing period dates (e.g., 7/1/2017 to 8/1/2017)
  3. Turn the annual bill cost into annual kWh using exact annual dates (e.g., 7/13/2016 to 7/13/2017)
  4. Turn the annual bill cost into annual kWh using approximate annual dates (e.g., 7/1/2016 to 7/1/2017)

Based on this information, we recommend using the bill amount of a monthly bill with exact billing period dates to solve for a customer’s usage since this will provide you the most precise kWh. However, you are welcome to use our Bill Solve feature to estimate a customer’s usage based on an annual bill amount if it is common for your potential solar customers to know this information.

If you are an existing Switch customer of ours who would like to add our Bill Solve feature in your proposal tool, please take a look at our developer How-To on Turning Bills into kWh and reach out to support@genability.com if you have any questions. If you are not our customer but you are interested in utilizing our Bill Solve feature for your solar proposals, please reach out to sales@genability.com to find out more about our Switch product today!

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New York PSC Guidelines on Presenting Solar Savings

Effective December 1, 2017, solar developers in New York are required by the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) to meet precise guidelines (PDF Download) when presenting savings estimates.  Genability has reviewed these requirements and we have made some data upgrades for New York so that our solar customers can comply with these new requirements without any change to their API integration.  First, let’s review the new savings requirement:

When marketing materials or information conveyed to mass market customers or potential mass market customers includes savings estimates, CDG and mass market on-site DG providers must include, in addition to any other forecasts used, a forecast using the following baseline: a three-year average of actual historical utility rates for the three most recent calendar years for which data is available, for the customer’s actual utility and service class. The provider may choose to apply an assumed escalation rate of up to 3% per year to this baseline in generating a forecast; if the provider does so, it must disclose the escalation rate used. The forecast generated must estimate savings for the same potential contract term as any other forecast provided. This forecast must be presented with similar prominence to other forecasts and all forecasts must be appropriately labeled to permit customers to understand their source.”.

The New 3 Year Average Tariffs

Genability has created 6 new tariffs that reflect the three-year average of utility rates (listed below) that can be used to calculate solar savings.  To calculate the three year average, we took an approach that incorporates average rates as mandated by the PUC without losing the mechanisms (rates that vary by season, tier and territory) that drive electricity pricing.  Assuming equal usage across all three years we calculate the 3 year, time-weighted average rate for each of the following components:

  1. Fixed Rates
  2. Seasonal and/or Tiered kWh Rates
  3. All-hours kWh Rates by Territory

The resulting PSC compliant rate maintains the seasonal and tiered components that impact the solar savings calculation, while averaging the remaining components equally over three years.  These new tariffs should appear in our customer’s tariff dropdown lists and appear at the bottom of the list (whether it’s sorted by customerLikelihood or alphabetical order).

Utility Tariff Code Tariff Name Master Tariff Id
Consolidated Edison EL1-PSC Residential and Religious – 3 Year Average for 2017 3296036
Orange & Rockland 1-PSC Residential – 3 Year Average for 2017 3296037
New York State Electric & Gas SC1-PSC Residential – 3 Year Average for 2017 3296050
National Grid – New York SC1-PSC Residential and Farm – 3 Year Average for 2017 3296051
Central Hudson Gas & Electric 1-PSC Residential – 3 Year Average for 2017 3296080
Rochester Gas & Electric 1-RSS-PSC Residential – 3 Year Average for 2017 3296079

Impact on Solar Savings

We have performed an analysis of the Avoided Cost of Power (ACP) in each New York utility by using these new 3-year average rates and comparing it to Genability’s comprehensive tariff model (more about our solar savings methodology).  The impact depends on both the specific prices in a utility/region and of Intelligent Baselining on the distribution of usage across the hours in the year.

The 3 Year Average delivers higher ACPs for Consolidated Edison’s Zone J (+5.6%) and National Grid – New York’s Capital Region (+6.5%).  This reflects both the effect of higher prices during the Polar Vortex of 2014 and the application of the average price for each hour (as opposed to the hourly usage and daily prices used by Genability’s model).  Expect that higher ACP to diminish next year as the 2014 prices are replaced by 2017 prices in the 3-year average.

In contrast, the 3 Year Average delivers lower ACPs for New York State Electric & Gas West region (-9.5%) and Rochester Gas & Electric (-4.6%).  For these utilities, the current Genability approach calculates a higher ACP because our climate-specific typical usage profiles assign more usage to days when prices are higher.  In addition, the western part of the state was less impacted by the variable price rises in the winter, like 2014’s Polar Vortex.

If you are interested in the results of our ACP analysis, please email us at support@genability.com and we’re happy to share our findings.

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