Genability Switch V4: New APIs

Over the past few weeks we’ve introduced Switch API upgrades including Dash, a web-app to view and troubleshoot savings analyses, and Savings Analysis Watch, which automatically reviews Savings Analysis results for atypical results.

To complement these new features, you can now access information on historical savings analyses through the Savings Analysis History API, and on the results of the real-time data quality checks via the Savings Analysis Watch API.  This allows you to integrate all the functionality of Dash and Watch directly into your quote tool.

Savings Analysis History

The Savings Analysis History endpoint allows users to view historical savings analysis requests and results. Altogether, this provides an API through which you can see the evolution of a proposal for a potential customer.

Specifically, the Savings Analysis History endpoint lets you obtain historical calls for a particular account using one of the following requests:

GET /rest/v1/accounts/{accountId}/analyses
GET /rest/v1/accounts/pid/{providerAccountId}/analyses

Either of these requests will provide information on all Savings Analysis calls made for this account. You can also retrieve a particular Savings Analysis for an account:

GET /rest/v1/accounts/{accountId}/analyses/{savingsAnalysisId}
GET /rest/v1/accounts/pid/{providerAccountId}/analyses/{savingsAnalysisId}

These requests will return the unique identifier of the Savings Analysis call, the created date, and the summary information originally returned (e.g., preTotalCost, lifetimeSolarCost).

Savings Analysis Watch

Detailed in a recent blog post, Savings Analysis Watch is a tool that monitors the quality of Savings Analysis calls in real-time. While Dash offers a web-interface to view the Watch results, you can also query for the results via the Watch API for a single savings analysis call, or for multiple calls.

To view all Watch results for a particular savings analysis, use one of the following requests:

GET/rest/v1/accounts/{accountId}/analyses/{savingsAnalysisId}/watch/results/
GET/rest/v1/accounts/pid/{providerAccountId}/analyses/{savingsAnalysisId}/­watch/results/

The requests will return the definition of the data quality check and the status of the Watch result (e.g., “Passed”).

The request to view Watch results for a set of savings analyses uses the following syntax:

GET /rest/v1/watch/results/{filters}

Where you can filter by utility, when the original Savings Analysis call was made, and status of the Watch result.

Using the New APIs

More information on how to integrate with the APIs is found in our Genability Developer Documentation on Savings Analysis History and Savings Analysis Watch. You can also contact support@genability.com with questions.

Those who aren’t currently Switch customers but are interested in leveraging these APIs and the other Switch V4 features, set up a demo by emailing sales@genability.com today!

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Savings Analysis Watch: Monitoring the Quality of Your Proposals in Real-Time

Around 60,000 proposals for rooftop solar are expected to be generated per week in 2016. In the competitive landscape of distributed energy generation and storage, how can companies reasonably monitor the integrity of these proposals?

Genability is pleased to announce Savings Analysis Watch ─ a tool that assesses the quality of solar quotes in real time. This allows you to stay informed about the quality of proposals by monitoring up-to-the-minute Watch results, ultimately helping to reduce potential errors as they occur, and improving the overall experience at the point of sale.

How does it work?

When a Savings Analysis call is made, Watch compares the calculated Avoided Cost to an expected range in real time. A status is assigned to every comparison that is run: passed, failed, or failed critical. These denote whether the Avoided Cost is within the expected range, outside of the range, or significantly outside of the range.

For example, you use Genability’s Switch API to create a solar proposal for the home at 123 Genability Drive, San Francisco, CA, 94109. The Savings Analysis call made for this scenario returns a predicted Avoided Cost of 11.0 ¢/kWh. Simultaneously, Watch compares the calculated Avoided Cost to a range typically seen for addresses served by the utility in that area.

switch_v4_dt_01-01Similar addresses in PG&E’s Baseline Region T, typically exhibit Avoided Costs between 13.1 and 34.3 ¢/kWh. Watch then calculates the severity of failure (non-critical versus critical) based on how far from the expected range the check falls. Although this Avoided Cost has been flagged, it does not necessarily indicate there is an error (oversizing a PV system may legitimately lead to low Avoided cost, for example). Rather, the failed check suggests that Avoided Cost is atypical enough that someone may want to take a second look.

Where do the expected ranges come from?

To determine expected ranges, Genability examined the Avoided Costs calculated for nearly 2 million Savings Analysis calls.

Currently, we have about 120 checks covering areas (PG&E Baseline Region T for example) served by the top 50 utilities, where the expected ranges are based on statistical analysis of tens of thousands of savings analyses. We also have 48 state-level checks, which have relatively wider expected ranges. These particular ranges were based on analysis of historical Savings Analysis calls along with Avoided Costs generated using our national set of typical load profiles.

As the trends in Avoided Cost evolve over time (largely due to changing tariff rates), we will continue to update the expected range values, as well as expand coverage to other utilities.

How do I see Watch results?

There are three ways to see Watch results:

Dash

Genability’s new web app Dash, provides a simple UI to review and manage a list of Watch results, as seen in the image below. You can filter or sort by date, status, state and utility. Clicking any check result takes you to a view with information on the original Savings Analysis request and result. This can quickly help identify what may be triggering a check result — minimum bill charges being invoked, leading to a low Avoided Cost, for example. (The basics of viewing a specific account or Savings Analysis in Dash was covered in a previous blog post.)

Watch_blog_shot

Real-time email notifications

Watch can optionally send email notifications in real time. These emails are only triggered when Watch indicates a Savings Analysis leads to a critical-level failure. An example of what this email alert looks like is below. The email is sent immediately after the Savings Analysis is run.



Email alerts are inactive by default, but can be configured upon request. There is flexibility to customize which utility Avoided Costs you want to be notified about and which you’d rather not receive alerts for.

Savings Analysis Watch API

Finally, Watch results can also be accessed and integrated into your platform via a new API endpoint. This will be covered in an upcoming blog post.

I need to use Watch! How do I get started?

All Switch customers can access Dash and the Watch API. Email support@genability.com for questions on accessing these resources or if you’d like to start receiving real-time Watch notifications via email.

Those without a subscription to Genability’s Savings Analysis API can email sales@genability.com to get a demo of our Switch product!

 

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Genability Switch V4: Introducing Dash

Dash is a visual tool we developed to complement your origination platform and help guarantee that you are generating high quality proposals. This self service web-app takes the power of the Switch APIs and makes them easily accessible to quickly view and troubleshoot savings analyses, review and change account settings, and perform scenario analyses.  

The video includes a sneak peak at Watch, a real-time data quality check of savings analysis call parameters.  Watch monitors savings analysis calls and raises a flag when these parameters fall outside of expected ranges. In our next post we will be following up with more information about Watch.

If you are a Switch customer and have questions about Dash, or would like a site specific demo, please contact support at support@genability.com.

If you are interested in Switch and want to learn more email us at sales@genability.com.

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Genability Switch V4: Accuracy Upgrades

Genability Switch makes it easy to accurately forecast savings and avoided cost, even in markets with increasing regulatory and tariff complexity. With Switch V4, we’ve implemented multiple upgrades to ensure your proposals always reflect accurate solar savings.

Solar Tariff Eligibility

When a post-solar tariff is not specified in Switch, Genability now defaults customers to the most popular tariff eligible for solar customers. If you select a post-solar tariff that the customer is not eligible for, the API response returns a warning. A few utilities now require customers to migrate to certain tariffs once they’ve installed rooftop solar. The first example of such a policy is in Salt River Project, which mandates that residential customers must switch to tariff E-27 after installing solar.

Tracking Closed Tariffs

Genability Switch maintains rate information for all tariffs, including those that are closed and no longer open for new enrollment. With this Switch upgrade, you can quickly sort tariffs by availability to ensure that your sales team only suggests switching to tariffs that are open for new enrollment.

Solar + Energy Efficiency

Many customers bundle energy efficiency upgrades into their solar service offering. Now you can run a Savings Analysis and explicitly pass through load profiles related to energy efficiency products, as well as baseline and solar profiles.  

Support for Complex Minimum Bills

When residential solar systems are sized to offset nearly all of a home’s load, customers are still billed per their tariff’s minimum charge. Recent tariff changes have added complexity to how minimum charges are calculated. For example PG&E recently modified the calculation behind their minimum charge. Switch accurately represents how these minimum charges are calculated to ensure accurate savings for customers with larger systems.

How Do I Leverage These Upgrades in My API Calls?

Some of these upgrades are enabled by minor changes to existing API calls. Contact support@genability.com if you have any questions and we’ll send over implementation details and schedule a demo.

Within the next few weeks we’re dedicating an extensive blog post to upcoming Switch upgrades that greatly enhance support for NEM 2.0, HI, and other tariffs based on bidirectional meters.

Stay tuned for more information on that and other exciting upgrades!

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Genability Switch V4: Dash, Watch, New APIs and More!

We are proud to announce a series of exciting new upgrades to our flagship product, Switch. Switch is the market leading solution for providing residential solar customers with the most accurate savings forecasts.  

Multiple new features are included in this launch, all aimed at increasing accuracy, productivity, and providing you with visual tools that compliment your solar sales process. Over the next few weeks we’ll be following up with a series of blog posts, instructional videos, and other content to highlight significant features.

Dash: View and Troubleshoot Savings Analyses

Dash: View and Troubleshoot Savings Analyses

Included in this release are:

Dash – a new web-app which allows you to quickly view and troubleshoot savings analyses.  

Watch – real time data quality checks which alert users when key parameters in a savings analysis exceed expected boundaries. Watch alerts are available via API, email, and viewable in Dash.

New APIs – several new APIs that can be integrated directly into quote tools. These APIs include all information available in Watch and Dash along with access to historical saving analyses so that you can review historical proposals and see the details associated with any offer.

Accuracy Upgrades – We’re rounding out Switch v4 with accuracy improvements that facilitate changes in regulatory policy related to tariff eligibility, net metering credits, and minimum bills.  

Stay tuned for more updates about all of the new features in Switch.  In the meantime if you have any questions, please  check out the What’s New page on our website or contact us at support@genability.com.

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It’s the Middle Class Driving Solar Growth

_I1C8028-2_sharpSeven Solar Installations in a Northern California Neighborhood, March 29, 2016. Photo by Charity Vargas

Who’s going solar? A recent study by Kevala Income Distribution of Rooftop Solar covering 2008-2015 points to California’s middle class.  As solar costs have decreased and competitive new financing options have increased, more and more middle class homeowners are adding solar to their roofs. As many as 65% of California’s solar systems were installed in zip codes where the median owner-occupied income is less than $70,000 per year. Discussing the study with Solar Industry, Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, suggests that “middle-class consumers are seeking to generate their own power as part of a tangible solution to rising electricity costs.”

The Kevala study also found that moderate-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles County (between $40,000– $70,000) have seen “very strong growth” up 30% year over year. And in Fresno, zip codes with homeowner-median-income of $40,000- $55,000 consistently represented half the solar deployment. What is driving this eight year trend?  Savings. The study concluded that  “10-20% savings in their electricity costs is meaningful enough to drive investment in alternative electricity supplies.”
How much can your customers save? With Genability Switch solar companies can calculate and present their customers savings, helping them install solar where it makes sense – increasingly for moderate and middle income homes.

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Genability Closes a $3 Million Investment

Today we are pleased to announce we have closed a $3 million investment from WindSail Capital. WindSail helps companies that advance energy innovation, with a particular focus on energy sustainability (http://www.windsailcapital.com). They provide debt to companies with solid financials and strong revenue growth. They really couldn’t be a better fit and we are very excited to partner with them.

Continue our Independent Growth in Solar

This investment allows us to continue to support the growth of distributed solar. We have doubled our revenue every year (US solar should grow 119% next year according to GTM) and along the way acquired the best in the industry as our customers and partners. We plan to continue this trend through further adoption and utilization of our existing products (like Switch which is integral to 45% of all solar PV proposals in the US) and by bringing innovative enhancements to the market. But just as important, this allows us to stay an independent and trusted source for savings.

Solutions for the Expanding New Energy Economy

We are at a crucial and exciting time for the new energy economy. More pieces are maturing towards mass market, such as behind the meter storage, electric vehicles and connected buildings. We expect these areas to provide additional growth for us over the next three years, and we will be focusing on upgrades to Conduct, our real time product, and our partnerships with emerging leaders.

New Products, New Reach

We also have several new, exciting products in development that expand our customer base. These include some powerful tools to visualize energy costs and savings across markets, utilities, new energy products and more; to intelligently understand trends and unlock opportunities. We will also expand our reach to target new stakeholders, including traditional utilities. We can’t wait to share more about our new products over the summer.

Financial Strength During Choppy Waters

The transition to a new energy economy will not come without its challenges. While growth is high, its path and timing are not as clear as other technology areas. Consumer adoption, regulatory change, and emerging financing alternatives will all require adjustments to business models and priorities. There will be winners and losers as this shakes out. And as many in our industry know, cleantech and energy technology venture capital has been challenging over the last few years. Add to that the recent tightening across the broader VC funding market, and many emerging software companies not yet profitable could find themselves running out of runway. Today, Genability is in a strong financial position to thrive in this climate.

Welcome WindSail

Mike, Ian and the WindSail team join a great team of investors, who have collectively invested over $10.5 million. Genability remains employee focused, with founders and employees owning 77% of Genability. That being said, our existing investors remain an important part of the team, especially EnerNOC, whose CEO, Tim Healy, will continue on the Company’s board of directors. A big thanks to Tim, Micah and the entire EnerNOC team for their decisive help in this transaction and continued support more generally.

Next up? We’re enjoying a glass of champagne here then getting back to work!

Here’s our Press Release:
http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160309006473/en

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Investigating the Effect of California’s NEM 2.0 on Solar Savings

Update: On May 31, 2016 PG&E closed the residential time-of-use tariff used in this analysis (E-6) for new enrollment and added ETOU-A and ETOU-B as new options for residential customers. Genability Switch was updated on that day to reflect the current options for customers switching to time-of-use. More information about the new tariffs is found here on PG&E’s website.

In January, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved new net metering rules, which define how utility companies bill customers with rooftop solar. Largely hailed as a victory for advocates of the distributed solar industry, the NEM 2.0 policies change how the utilities calculate costs and credits for solar customers.

Through 3,000 simulations, Genability investigated how these new rules will impact solar savings. Note that these simulations are based on the NEM 2.0 versions of the utilities’ residential tariffs as of February 2016; updated analyses will be provided soon based on recent changes to the relevant tariff schedules.

From these simulations, we found that NEM 2.0 can have a relatively small effect on savings on average. And more interestingly, NEM 2.0 may lead to greater savings in certain cases.

NEM 2.0 rules

Once the NEM 1.0 rules expire in 2016 and early 2017, potential solar customers served by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) will have their solar savings impacted in two major ways1,2:

  • All electricity delivered by the utility company is subject to higher charges (“non-bypassable charges”; e.g., nuclear decommissioning charge); these charges cannot be offset by solar energy credits.
  • Customers must switch to a time-of-use (TOU) rate schedule in which the cost of electricity delivered by the utility company varies over the day.

Per the CPUC’s January ruling, both of these factors are resolved hourly, meaning the utility calculates charges from hour-to-hour. Note that SDG&E customers will not need to switch to a TOU rate structure until a later date (several months after the onset of NEM 2.0).

The analysis below focuses on the rules approved in January’s CPUC decision and February tariff schedules. We will publish follow-up analyses as needed with new electricity tariffs including those still requiring approval by the CPUC.

How will NEM 2.0 affect solar savings?

Using Genability’s Savings Analysis product (our Switch API), we ran 3,000 simulations to compare savings for new solar customers under NEM 1.0 and NEM 2.0 rules. These simulations reflect randomly-selected combinations of monthly usage and solar production levels that are typical of cases run through our Switch API. These scenarios generally feature total annual consumption between 9,000 and 17,000 kWh, and solar installations that offset between 60% and 100% of this annual consumption. A more detailed explanation of our simulation procedure is included at the end of this post.

Ultimately, we found that NEM 2.0 has a relatively modest effect compared to NEM 1.0: over all the simulated savings analyses, there was only a 2.8% difference on average in first year solar savings ━ and this was a 2.8% increase in savings.

The chart below breaks down these annual costs by utility. Specifically, it illustrates utility costs for a year without solar, with solar under NEM 1.0 conditions, and with solar under NEM 2.0 conditions. (These values are averages across the simulations by utility.)

Similarly, the bar graph below shows the average amount of savings in utility costs per year thanks to solar (i.e., what you avoided paying the utility).

Both the chart and bar graph highlight the relatively comparable savings seen under each of the NEM conditions. That said, PG&E and SCE customers can actually benefit from the NEM rule changes: nearly 95% of the simulated PG&E customers and more than 95% of the simulated SCE customers saw higher savings under NEM 2.0 versus NEM 1.0. More specifically, annual savings increased by 5.7% ($146.20 in the first year) on average for the PG&E scenarios and 5.3% ($149.80) on average for the SCE scenarios.

SDG&E customer simulations saw lower solar savings under NEM 2.0 versus NEM 1.0. That said, the effect was small ━ only a 2.5% decrease on average ($85.27 in the first year). Even in the most extreme SDG&E case, there was only a 4.0% decrease in savings due to NEM 2.0.

We also assessed the effect of the new rules by examining the rate a customer pays to the utility for power after having gone solar (i.e., yearly amount paid to the utility divided by the total kWh delivered by the utility). The plots below depict the distribution of these post-solar rates:

As expected, the plots indicate that solar customers would pay higher rates to SDG&E under NEM 2.0 versus NEM 1.0 conditions, while the reverse is true for PG&E and SCE.

Altogether, these relative patterns of savings indicate that the positive effect of the TOU switching rule in NEM 2.0 (delayed for SDG&E) outweighs the negative effect of the higher non-bypassable charges.

Integrating NEM 2.0 rates into Savings Analysis calls

Overall, the non-bypassable charges appear to impact solar savings only slightly. In the PG&E and SCE NEM 2.0 scenarios, the switch to a TOU rate generally has a much larger, and often positive, effect on savings3.

As of last week, Genability’s Savings Analysis API can predict savings based on California’s new net metering rules. For more information on how to do this, or for analysis of how your organization’s specific quotes will be affected, email support@genability.com.

Those without a subscription to Genability’s Savings Analysis API can email sales@genability.com to get a demo of our Switch product.

How we ran this analysis

We determined 500 usage and production scenarios that are representative of potential rooftop solar customers served by each of the three California IOU utilities.

As a single hypothetical example: we used Genability’s APIs to create an account for a customer, John Smith, at 123 Genability Drive, San Francisco, California, 94114. We then created annual usage and solar profiles and uploaded them to the John Smith account.

For the John Smith scenario, we then ran a Savings Analysis call where the pre- and post-solar tariffs were the same ━ both PG&E’s E-1: Residential rate schedule; in other words, pre_master_tariff_id = post_master_tariff_id = 522 in the API call, where 522 denotes PG&E’s default residential tariff in Genability’s database. The results of this Savings Analysis call represent the NEM 1.0 case.

Next, we ran a nearly identical call, but set the post-solar tariff to the NEM 2.0 version of E-6-TOU: Residential – Time of Use. For this, we also set useIntelligentBaselining = true in the API call, which interpolates hourly usage data from a single monthly kWh reading (as described in a previous blog post). Altogether, this second Savings Analysis call predicts costs and solar savings under California’s new NEM 2.0 rules. We then compared savings under the NEM 1.0 and 2.0 conditions.

 

1 A one-time interconnection fee is also now allowed, but this is not part of the electricity tariff.

2 The invester-owned California utilities (PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E) have recently asked that charges be resolved at a sub-hourly level. The CPUC is expected to respond in the coming months.

3 Particularly for cases where the solar customer’s annual utility charges were above the annual minimums.

 

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Charge Up Your Storage Business with Genability

Energy storage is the next frontier in the New Energy Economy, and we’re proud to work with industry leaders such as Tesla, Stem, Advanced Microgrid Systems, and NextEra Energy.   

Partners leverage our products to identify new markets with attractive rate structures, develop site-specific savings forecasts, provide pricing intelligence to battery management systems, and use our savings statements as an independent source of truth for billing and shared savings agreements.

In past years, growth in storage was driven by large utility-scale installations. The rapid increase in distributed energy resources and load management services are paving the way for a new era of distributed energy storage. Behind the meter storage installations are expected to grow by more than 5X between 2015 and 2017 with most of this growth in the commercial/industrial segment.

Source: GTM Research

Commercial energy storage must provide value to developers, financiers and end customers such as hotels, big-box stores, and wineries. Target sites have electricity consumption profiles with high differentials between mean and peak usage, thereby resulting in higher demand charges (see Large Hotel profile below). Demand charges apply costs to peak energy usage over small periods of time. These charges are often very complex and can represent up to 50% of a business’s total electricity bill.  Energy storage helps flatten the load profile by storing electricity when usage is otherwise low, and discharging stored power during high load periods. Other factors such as time of use rates and peak pricing incentives further increase the value of energy storage.

Typical Summer Load Profile – San Jose, CA

Look for more announcements about products, services and additional partnerships from Genability as this exciting market continues to grow. For more information please contact us at sales@genability.com.

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NEM 2.0 in California

The solar industry received great news yesterday when the California Public Utilities Commission approved their proposed decision on NEM 2.0. All major elements of net metering were upheld with no new fixed or demand-based charges. Under NEM 2.0 solar customers will see higher interconnection fees (estimated to be between $75 – $100 per installation) and will be charged non-bypassable rates on all energy received from the utility (roughly 2-3¢/kWh), regardless if that energy is later offset by solar production. All solar customers will also be required to take service under time of use tariffs. Utility companies have 30 days to finalize rate structures under the new rules.  

NEM 2.0 is scheduled to go into effect as soon as the current Net Metering Cap is reached for each of the 3 California investor-owned utilities. San Diego Gas & Electric will be the first utility to enter NEM 2.0 as they are currently at 85% of their limit under NEM 1.0. We expect that NEM 2.0 will go into effect for SDG&E in May 2016. PG&E and SCE won’t reach their NEM 1.0 caps until early 2017. In all cases customers approved under NEM 1.0 will retain their rate structure for 20 years from approval.

We at Genability have been following the CPUC proceeding closely in preparation for supporting NEM 2.0. Future versions of California tariffs correctly model the effect of solar on non-bypassable charges so Switch users can continue to model precise solar savings for their customers. Stay tuned to this space for future updates.

If you have further questions, please email us at support@genability.com.

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