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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Florida We’ve Got You Covered


Amendment 1, a proposed Florida State constitutional amendment, was widely publicized as a pro-solar referendum. It was found though, to be legislation that would have made residential roof top solar unviable in Florida. Utilities and others spent $29 million to promote the amendment which would have paved the way to remove net metering and added differential fees to solar customers. It’s defeat by voters last month, means new solar customers in Florida (the country’s third in potential sun energy generation from rooftop solar) can still benefit financially from all that beautiful sunshine.

With that in mind, we put together a heat map of the Avoided Cost of Power (ACP) for residential customers in Florida so you can see where you and your customers can save.


As you can see above, the best ACPs are to be found in the college town of Gainesville.  Gainesville Regional Utilities, leads the state with an ACP of $0.13/kWh. The next brightest spot is in the state’s panhandle area from Gulf Power and Light ($0.114/kWh).  

The lowest ACP in Florida is for its largest utility, Florida Power & Light.  At $0.085/kWh, FP&L is half a cent less than the next closest utility.  Also rounding out the bottom of the list are smaller coops and Munis like Withlacoochee River Electric Coop ($0.091/kWh) and Kissimmee Utility Authority ($0.091/kWh).

Genability Switch has every electricity tariff, everywhere in Florida. Contact us and we will help you start generating accurate savings forecasts in Florida and through out the country.


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Bah Humbug to Holiday Lighting Bills

It’s holiday season! That means homes in communities across the America are decorated with colorful displays of cheer. The bright lights and robotic Santas come at a cost though, many homeowners will experience unexpected increases in their November and December electricity bills, some by more than 50%.

Christmas light display

Most people opt for manageable outdoor setups with lights around their lawn, around trees, and along rooflines. There are however some homes and neighborhoods renown for highly elaborate displays which may include thousands of lights, robotics, music and more. ABC airs an annual competition where families and neighborhoods compete with each other for the coveted Light Fight crown, awarded to houses with the most outrageous decorations. Winners from last year’s competition had anywhere from 80,000 to 1,000,000 lights (of various types) per home. While the decorations alone for these setups can cost upwards of $10,000 and are often professionally installed, a relatively undocumented cost is the electricity required to power the show.

One emerging trend in holiday lighting is the use of LED lights to improve lifetime costs for those who plan on lighting up their homes every year. LED holiday lights are rapidly growing in popularity compared to their incandescent counterparts as they become more cost competitive. LED lights, while still higher in upfront cost, last more than 5 times longer than conventional bulbs and use a fraction of the electricity. There are several great resources highlighting the benefits of LED lighting including a recent blog post from our friends at Sunrun and an online guide from PG&E.

Homeowners may experience some level of bill shock depending on how many lights they install, their location/electricity tariff, and their choice of lighting technology. We’ve quantified electricity cost increases associated with typical and highly elaborate (think Clark Griswold)  holiday light setups in locations where past Light Fight crown winners were located such as Brooklyn, Salt Lake City, and Livermore. The added costs below assume 2,500 lights for the standard condition, and 50,000 lights for the Griswolds condition, with a mix of larger and smaller lights for each case.


As shown in the table, electricity costs can skyrocket, particularly for homeowners opting for more elaborate setups. LED lights significantly mitigate these cost increases, and require 4X – 5X fewer bulb replacements. Choice of technology ultimately depends on how many lights you plan on installing. It may not be financially advantageous for all homeowners to use LEDs, although the large majority of people will benefit.

The team at Genability wishes you a very Happy Holidays and lower electricity bills in the year to come!

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A Record-Breaking Summer in ERCOT

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages 90% of the electricity market in Texas, recently wrapped up its summer season. Reminiscent of record grid loads in August 2015, the ISO saw some dramatic moments this June through September:

First, four new peak load records were set starting August 8th, when ERCOT experienced demands above 70,000 MW, maxing out at 70,572 MW on August 10. Mid-September also saw a strained grid. At one point demand surpassed projections and reached within 3% of all available capacity. This comes dangerously close to triggering supply issues that could lead to major throttling of supply or even blackouts.

How were customers affected?

As the ISO overseeing Texas’ massive deregulated energy market, ERCOT’s major responsibility is to manage an economic system that incentivizes consumers to reduce and/or move load when the grid experiences a tightening of the gap between supply and demand. One way in which the market incentivizes a balance between supply and demand is through a real-time energy market, in which prices for wholesale electricity are determined by ERCOT at 15-minute intervals for different locations on the grid.

With higher summer demand, August and September saw increased real-time rates (as expected). For example, the Houston load zone experienced a median rate of $21.13/MWh this summer, but saw rates as high as $906.26/MWh in August. We see this and similar rate spikes in the following plot:




How do these spikes fit into the bigger picture?

We can look to rates in previous summers for answers. As shown in the following plot, median summer rates for the Houston, North, and South load zones in summer 2016 were on par with, or lower than previous years.




Similarly, peak real-time rates for 2016 are roughly on par with previous years, and are particularly similar to peak rates in summer 2015:




However, the frequency with which these zones see higher real-time rates in the summer appears to be increasing. 2015 had more occurrences of rates above $100.00/MWh than 2012, 2013, or 2014. Summer 2016 saw rates above $100.00/MWh in nearly 70% more summer intervals than in 2015, and nearly 250% more summer intervals than 2012, 2013, and 2014 on average.




Where do we go from here?

Thanks in part to unusually high fall temperatures in parts of Texas, buyers of wholesale electricity are still exposed to high rates. In October alone, the Houston, North, and South load zones saw real-time rates above $100.00/MWh in 25, 24, and 48 intervals, respectively.

Genability’s comprehensive suite of products enables customers to mitigate the effects of high peak time rates by modeling cost impacts of moving load or installation of distributed energy resources. For more information please contact us at

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Engineering Offsite in Sonoma

Last week the Engineering team headed out of the office to Sonoma for a team offsite. Their destination was the Kendall-Jackson Wine Garden and Estate, owned by Jackson Family Wines (JFW), to take stock of this year’s accomplishments, make plans for the rest of the year and of course eat amazing food and drink lovely wine in beautiful California Wine Country.


Tasting in the Vineyard

We also had another reason to pick Jackson Family Wines for our offsite – they are leading the way in agricultural sustainability. Over the last five years JFW has heavily invested in renewable energy. And for us, we were particularly interested in seeing their solar and battery storage systems – a whopping 6.5 megawatts of solar and 8.4 megawatt hours of storage capacity from Tesla batteries.

Jackson Family Wines was one of the first pilot installations of Tesla’s Power Pack, their commercial battery storage system. Tesla uses Genability’s rate engine, the world’s best and the only accurate rate engine, to calculate JFW’s battery systems’ actual savings.

And it’s no small amount according to Forbes “Across the Jackson family wineries, solar panels and Tesla batteries are expected to lower the company’s electricity bill by nearly 40% in 2016, which is a savings of about $2 million.” So after many monthly cycles of aggregating and analyzing their meter data feeds, calculating their actual bills and savings through our rate engine and reporting it, we wanted to see these batteries in person.


Members of team Genability checking out the the Tesla batteries up close

The Team had a great time (check out a full album of photos from the day here) tasting wine, walking in the vineyards and beautiful kitchen gardens, and touring the harvesting and production facilities.

genabiltyengineeringoffisite2016img_0963Team Genability walking in the kitchen gardens

Thank you to Jackson Family Wines for a fantastic offsite. We have recharged our batteries and are back in the office working hard with renewed energy toward our goal of enabling Clean Abundant Energy for Everyone.


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Signal: Why It’s the Best Rate Engine


Many companies, including some utilities, have attempted to build utility rate engines. While most have ultimately failed or abandoned development due to the complex challenges involved, others cut scope and developed solutions for narrow use-cases. Signal is the first and only rate engine that provides revenue grade accuracy, comes out of the box with full coverage in North America and select international markets and includes what-if and distributed energy (DER) features. This makes Signal both a rate engine and a recommendation engine.

Earlier this year, Oracle Opower evaluated different rate engine solutions to plug into their next generation of digital engagement products. After careful consideration of all available solutions, including building a rate engine in-house, they selected Genability Signal. Together, we will deliver rate analysis, rate education reports, what-if analysis, and many new insights to millions of residential and commercial customers.

What makes a great rate engine?

Rate engines are no longer just about batch billing. They must be configurable on the fly, scale quickly, provide multiple calculations in an instant, and offer a suite of new features that support the distributed energy landscape. A rate engine should enable web or mobile digital engagement, batch reports, and offer insights useful for customer service. Customers want to understand the cost impacts of modifying their energy usage whether through purchase of products and services or simple changes in when they operate appliances. Whether it’s forecasting cost impacts of usage changes, evaluating costs across multiple tariff plans, or modeling new energy products like solar or EVs, the rate engine sits at the heart of the customer experience.

We’ve built Signal with all of this top of mind, specifically focusing on four core areas; Flexibility, Accuracy, Scalability, and Performance.


Genability has modeled every tariff we have seen whether residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural. Our data covers over 95% of the United States and select international markets, more than 1,200 load serving entities and nearly 15,000 tariffs complete with riders and electives. The diversity of tariffs we currently model includes time variant rates, demand charges, indexed rates, and numerous other configurations. When a utility proposes a new tariff, we likely have a similar tariff structure in production elsewhere. No need to invent anything.

For over five years we’ve provided cost and savings information to New Energy companies. Our customers include leaders in residential and commercial solar, energy storage, EV charging, energy efficiency and smart appliances. We bring that expertise and functionality to Signal so that your customers can instantly model cost and savings impacts of distributed energy purchases. Signal is versatile. It generates accurate calculations with the data you have; AMI data, monthly meter readings, or forecasting with incomplete data.


We have the most accurate tariff engine on the market. This has been demonstrated both by our track record of acquiring new customers, but also by third party validations like NREL’s in 2015. Once in production, we’re continuously QAing thousands of calculations against expected and actual bill values to ensure accuracy is preserved for all customers, irrespective of tariff or elective. We can model, verify & introduce new tariffs structures in as few as ten business days, and make simple rate changes in one business day. Every time a change is made, we run extensive regressions against every permutation of every tariff, elective, and rider. By making sure the changes successfully regress against these control data scenarios, we ensure accuracy is preserved for all customers. When working directly with utility companies who have access to granular usage and bill determinant information, we guarantee 99% accuracy.


A major focus when designing Signal was making sure onboarding of new utilities is fast and always improving. We’re currently in production with more than 50 companies, all with various platforms in applications including solar, storage, commercial building energy management, EV charging, and smart appliances. We have solutions in place that address common stumbling points during integration including things like rounding, daylight savings time, holidays, etc. Our team actively supports tariff mapping to whatever data sources are available whether utility billing systems, meter data management systems, or other databases. We’ll make sure you get into production as quickly as possible, and frequently support multiple integrations simultaneously. Once in production there is dedicated staff monitoring the accuracy of our services, and a support team that is always available to answer data or engineering questions. We scale technology and resources to make sure there’s always more than enough capacity to support call volume well beyond actual levels.


Utilities are scaling vertically in the number of customers, as well as horizontally with new tariffs, products and services. Signal is built to support calculations simultaneously for multiple utilities. Signal is fast and reliable. Our cloud based solution is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), and scales automatically with demand (see figure 1 below). We use advanced caching so rates return quickly, and have a parallelized architecture to provide speed and scale. With Signal, all of your data is secure. Our databases use industry-standard backup procedures and failover. Your data is always available.

Signal comes with strong SLAs that ensure speed and throughput. We understand that calculations must occur instantaneously for website and mobile engagement. Paper reports and outbound communications require the ability to run millions of customers through multiple calculations. Our services are designed to deliver sub 150ms response times for on-demand calculations and can handle millions of accounts to populate information on outbound communications.


Figure 1. API call response time vs. volume

Our Commitment

We take great pride in actively supporting our more than 50 customers, ranging from large organizations, like Engie and GE, to emerging energy customers like Drift who are growing their businesses. Genability is committed to serving you and your end customers  Our support team is comprised of subject matter experts available to help you along the way. More information about Genability is available here on our website.

See how Signal might help you by contacting us at

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Why Rate Design Matters More Than Ever

We here at Genability think a lot about electricity tariffs, their design and their impact. It’s why we built our latest product Signal, and our company for that matter. We fundamentally believe that the power of price will help us solve our energy problems. Two recent reports shed some light on the power of price and how electricity rate design is a high impact, low-cost, way to mitigate many of the challenges facing the modern electricity grid. Here is a summary of our summer rates reports reading list (say that three times fast).

Regulators and utility companies are facing $50B to $80B in additional costs per year over the next decade to address the complex challenges from increased peak electricity demand, higher penetration of distributed energy resources (DER), and an aging grid infrastructure. In addition to these costs, utilities also face significant revenue shortfalls resulting from customer defection attributed to DERs such as rooftop solar and storage.

Utilities are increasingly moving from simple flat $/kWh rates to tiered, time varying and demand based rate structures. These new structures are enabled through advanced metering infrastructure, and are inherently more complex. Widespread customer adoption of these new tariffs, whether voluntary or by mandate, is the only way for utilities to realize cost benefits associated with converting to new rate structures.

Grid Infrastructure Costs

A recent publication by the Rocky Mountain Institute titled The Economics of Demand Flexibility determined that residential rate reform alone can lead to ~$13 billion/year in avoided infrastructure costs (Figure 1). The majority of these cost savings are derived from avoided use of expensive peaking power plants (frequently referred to as “peakers”) as well as avoided cost of building new generating and  transmission capacity.


Figure 1. Economics of Demand Flexibility

Figure 1. Economics of Demand Flexibility


While aggregate electricity consumption has flattened over the past few years, peak loads continue to increase as load curves further polarize between peak & off peak (the CAISO duck curve, Figure 2). Utilities conventionally build more capacity to facilitate peak load, which means higher rates for customers even with flat or declining gross electricity consumption.

By making energy more expensive when expected load is higher, utility companies incentivize customers to modify when they use electricity. This ultimately saves both consumers and utilities money over the long run. When designed and executed correctly, benefits of effective rate design alone can shave peak loads by 10%, as proven by Sacramento Municipal Utility District in a 2 year pilot.


2. CAISO Duck Curve

Figure 2. CAISO Duck Curve


Distributed Energy Resources

With greater than 1,000,000 solar installations and 500,000 electric vehicles sold, U.S. consumer preference for alternate energy resources is indisputable. The rapid growth of solar, storage, microgrids, demand response, electric vehicles and connected devices presents both opportunity and risk for electric utilities. Some utility companies cite DERs as the reason for grid instability, revenue shortfalls, and claim that those with solar or storage benefit from current regulatory policy at the financial expense of others.

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) recently released a report addressing the role of DERs in the future grid, and outlined rate design as a major driver in aligning utility and customer priorities. The Manual on Distributed Energy Resources Compensation is intended to be a neutral manual helping utilities, regulators, and distributed energy providers use rate design as a way to bring together business models. The focus is on assigning appropriate value for electricity exported into the grid as a function of load conditions for a particular time and location. Over the next several months stakeholder comments on the publication will be made public driving increased dialogue. There are already examples of utilities using rate design and market-based compensation as ways of using DERs to their advantage such as the recent procurement by Southern California Edison and New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision.

Genability has been working closely with the biggest names in distributed energy  services for over 5 years providing cost and savings analytics. Our newest product Signal is the first cloud-based utility rate engine with national coverage built for today’s grid. We’ll follow up in the next post about what makes Signal the world’s greatest rate engine. If you have questions or would like a demo please contact us at

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Announcing Signal, the world’s best utility rate engine

Genability is pleased to announce our latest product, Signal. Signal is our first product purely for Utilities and Retail Electric Providers (REPs). Signal empowers these providers with the ability to better understand and present electricity costs and savings wherever they engage, service and communicate with customers.


Digital Engagement & Outbound Communications


Signal answers a growing need for utilities to use the power of price to incentivize customers to use their energy in ways that are compatible with the macro trends like increased renewables and the electrification of transportation (i.e. to “Signal” smarter usage). Utility tariffs are becoming increasingly complex. Demand Charges and Time-of-Use (TOU) rates are on the rise. Regulators and policymakers are mandating more effective customer engagement on costs and savings as a key step in the path to rate reform. Signal was built to power customer relationship platforms, digital and mobile push communications, as well as more traditional paper reports. Signal supports it all.

What Can Utilities Power with Signal?

Tariff Plan Comparisons, Cost Transparency

Electric utilities can now provide their customers with instant comparisons across all available rate plans and options. This works for the smallest residential customers to the largest industrial plants. Signal also calculates accurate historical and month to date costs. Results can be provided down to a billing components or line item level, with granularity at the billing period, calendar month, or by Tier, TOU period, day, hour and even 15 minute increment. The data provided by Signal helps customers avoid bill shocks, compare trends in electricity costs and improve their customer satisfaction, all while reducing utility support costs.

Powerful “What-If” Functionality

Beyond rate plan and elective changes, Signal also helps customers “what-if” changes to usage patterns, efficiency measures, EV adoption and smart charging implementation strategies and much more. Signal helps utilities move load by quantifying the cost impact of load changes under TOU pricing, demand charges and during dynamic events. Signal calculates customers’ costs, presenting savings in dollars, not just kWh.

Deregulated Market Customer Acquisition

Signal was also designed for Retail Electric Providers. In deregulated markets, REPs can use Signal to acquire new customers by accurately displaying price-to-compare and bundled rates. For existing end customers, Signal enables a host of digital engagement features such as rate analysis, bill comparisons and “what-if” analysis. With Signal, REPs can fully reconstruct customers’ utility bills, enabling shadow billing and innovative energy service products.

Analysis of Solar, Storage, Electric Vehicles and More

Utilities are increasingly offering distributed energy advice and resources directly to customers. Utilities can use Signal to help customers understand the economics of these New Energy products, including rooftop and community solar, energy storage, electric vehicles and more. Genability’s Switch product provides the cost and savings information for nine of the top ten solar companies, as well as all major storage company. Signal now brings the same industry leading capability direct to utilities.

Accuracy & Performance Guaranteed

At its core, Signal uses Genability’s powerful rate engine and accurate, comprehensive tariff rate database. Our accuracy, depth of coverage of tariff rates, service performance, uptime and speed are unmatched in the industry. Our tariffs have been evaluated by NREL to be accurate to within two cents and we perform over 1,000 data quality checks on every single rate change. We have a track record for our API’s uptime at well over our 99.95% guarantee, and response times less than 150 milliseconds. With 24/7 critical support and over 100 combined years of energy industry experience, no other service can come close to Signal.

We work hard to maintain this level of performance for a reason. We understand how important it is for you and your customers that any costs and savings presented are accurate. That is why Signal comes with concrete guarantees on accuracy and performance. To do this, we’ve baked a comprehensive suite of tools directly into Signal to measure and validate accuracy during onboarding, rate updates, and ongoing in real time (more details coming on this in an upcoming blog post). Each Signal contract includes Service Level Agreements that guarantee support for millions of calls, with response times measured in milliseconds, and with costs that are proved to meet the highest accuracy standards.

Join Industry Leaders Oracle Opower, Engie and Just Energy

Today we are proud to also announce that Oracle’s Opower is a Signal customer, and that Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is deploying Signal as part of their next generation digital engagement and rate education platform from Opower across all 5.5 million residential, commercial and industrial electricity accounts.  REPs such as Engie and Just Energy also use Signal to provide price-to-compare applications in their consumer portals, as well as present potential new products.

A Rate Engine for the Future

It’s important to note that Signal’s rate models are dynamic and data driven. No code changes are required to publish new tariff versions, even when there are fundamental changes to rate structure such as removing tiers or adding demand charges. In fact, our model supports every rate we have found in the market (ratchets, block & index, tiers, etc.), and given we’ve modeled residential, commercial and industrial rates for the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and the UK, we’ve seen a lot of complexity. Signal is ready and able to support your rate initiative now and in the future. Signal is also the perfect platform for more powerful rate design, and we intend to build enhanced design tools in the Signal product suite starting next year.

Want to Learn More?

Signal is available today. We have some additional information on our website ( To learn more email us at and we will  setup a demo and answer all your questions. Also, keep an eye out for future blogs where we will delve into all the details of Signal. Next up we’ll talk about how we make sure your rates, costs and savings are accurate and up to date.

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The Tesla and SolarCity Big Bundle

At Genability, we’ve been thinking about what the new energy future might be, pretty much all day, every day, for the last six years. To me, it feels inevitable that i) a sizable portion of our energy generation will be distributed, ii) distributed storage and load intelligence will have to be used to smooth intermittent supply, and iii) we will electrify the vast majority of our transportation. I could be wrong. I hope I’m not. But we are certainly heading in that direction.

If this hypothesis is true, then the interesting question for me is: what business models will succeed? You have an industry that has historically been dominated by local, regulated monopolies — not the traditional hotbed of business innovation. The outcome of the proposed merger of Tesla and SolarCity could turn out to just be an ill-advised bailout (as some have suggested), or a well timed acqui-hire type transaction that helps Tesla become better EV+Battery company with a bit of solar on the side. Or, it could be Elon Musk’s next significant step in his master plan.

In this blog I’d like to do a thought experiment on the potential benefits should the merger result in Tesla selling a unified product that includes an electric vehicle and an electric generation system (car, solar, battery). Let’s call it the “Big Bundle”.  This is not my prediction of what the two companies will actually do — while both Tesla and SolarCity are Genability customers, this is not based on any insider knowledge of whether the companies are thinking “Big Bundle” or not. It’s purely “what if”.

Also, don’t take this as investment advice (lets just say my 401(k) is “underperforming”).

Want to buy a Big Bundle?

Driving an EV changes your relationship to electricity in fundamental ways. First, you think more about what it costs, where it comes from, and when you use it. In talking to our friends at BMW and elsewhere, it’s clear that EV owners show a heightened interest in solar. Lets assume (pretend?) that Tesla wants to go all-in and bet on that sentiment. It takes its strong brand, massive battery factory, and bolts on the head start(?) of the market leading solar company to put a car, solar and home battery system into one lovely, big new energy product. Then it sells it direct. And I’m not talking a la carte here. Meet the “Big Bundle”.

What advantages would the Big Bundle need to make it a huge winner?

One. Customer Acquisition

Let’s start with the obvious one: If selling solar with every cars makes sense, then that would take a sizable chunk out of the estimated $4,000 customer acquisition costs most solar companies currently experience. Imagine including a solar install with those 400,000 pre-orders for the Tesla Model 3. There were 17.5mm cars sold last year in the U.S.. We’ve just crossed the 1mm homes with solar mark counting up all home solar systems. Ever. The Big Bundle would beat pure solar on price and scale.

Two. Automotive Financing Adapted Nicely

The car industry has got pretty good at providing attractive financing for the purchase of a car. Auto loans have large pools of capital, mature providers and liquidity. It’s understood by consumers. Now that solar is growing and getting cheaper, solar financing is getting better. But by piggy-backing on auto financing, the Big Bundle would have a significant advantage. There are two additional benefits to financing a bundle rather than the panels alone: First, auto financiers know how to take back your car if you stop paying. No solar company repossesses your solar system if you don’t pay. And second, once repossessed, a car has value on a liquid resale market. Who would the bank sell your solar panels to if they took them off your roof? With a bundle loan, any excess equity in your repossessed car could offset losses on the panels. Admittedly, the car’s resale might not always be enough to cover the remaining balance, but across a portfolio, the risk is reduced vs pure solar loans.

Big Bundle gets cheap financing. If panels continue to come down in price at the dramatic pace they have been, it might not cost much more than repairing those 21″ rims.

Three. Fuel savings are Productized Too

Now I start getting excited. Big Bundle solar, battery and the car together and you are selling the fuel and the transport. Tesla would be tangibly baking fuel cost savings into their revenue stream. No more “this other check you write to this other company will be lower” sales pitch. Imagine if GM were able to sell you the car and its lifetime of gas (without much fuel cost risk)? Whooa Nelly!

Four. Home & Destination Charging Expertise

Car companies haven’t historically had to come to your house. The EV experience is greatly improved if you have a good fast charging option at home (as a Tesla driver, trust me, it’s night and day). In an unbundled world, installation and maintenance of your home charger may be best provided by a third party (Genability customer ChargePoint is starting to do just that). Tesla may think smart home charging is too important to outsource. SolarCity has put a lot of time and effort into better truck roll operations, and are closer to national coverage than anyone else. If you are going to (truck) roll, why not roll for a Big Bundle? If bundle beats unbundle, Tesla + SolarCity has one hell of a head start.

What-If’s are fun, but reality bites

In the real world, rather than my “what-if” one, a Big Bundle-only strategy faces big challenges. For starters, there are lots of potential EV drivers that rent a home, live in a state that prohibits solar, have a big tree shading their roof, think solar is communist, and on and on. Selling nothing but a Big Bundle would be very audacious. But that doesn’t mean that without a pure bundle strategy, there isn’t value to Tesla from SolarCity. Beyond the points above, think about the “steel in the ground” expertise that SolarCity brings to Tesla’s SuperCharger work.

Even if practical, I’m not sure that bundle beats unbundle in this case (in ten years will iOS beat Android, Native Apps beat HTML?). Maybe there will only be room for one “Apple of EV” (might be Apple!). It does seem likely that Tesla will sell EVs without home batteries, and home batteries without Solar, via channels and not just direct. Unbundled and bundled options. Regardless, I think this stuff is fascinating, hope the merger goes though, and look forward to seeing what comes of it. For our clean, abundant energy future to get here quicker, lets hope some of this “what-if” comes true.

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