Solar is getting smarter.
The grid is structured on old business models which cannot deliver low cost electricity on the west coast. Entrenched interests prevent regulatory upgrades. The market is chipping away at the status quo.
Battery software defines storage quality; better inverters synchronize production, usage and storage for their client while enabling the aggregation of multiple solar systems to create distributed networks; blockchain technology is moving into billing and transaction tracking.
Will prosumers want to manage all the functions in their energy profiles?
From generation, to grid synchronization, to demand charge management, to selling power, to reconciliation, to tracking market transactions?
Hence the rise of developing opportunities for creative players whose technologies or world view favor distributed energy models. Like Solaredge’s introduction in early May of a solution for grid services, preparing for the coming of the shared energy economy.
Solar is getting smarter and value in the chain is moving from the hardware to the software side.
In a recent study, IHS Markit evaluated battery suppliers on capabilities and experience stacking multiple values and providing demand response with aggregated energy storage assets. Three leaders emerged.
“What’s absolutely central to their success is significant investment by all three companies in terms of their software, their aggregation capabilities, and really evolving those and learning by doing throughout this continued investment into software, machine learning techniques, data analysis, real-time optimization and response….
…not surprisingly much of the technology being … deployed in this segment of energy storage is coming straight out of Silicon Valley. …All three leaders are based in California.“
But California is not the only state where escaping demand charges will drive software programmers to embrace C&I solar plus storage opportunities. NY, Hawaii, Arizona (3,000MW project announced mid-April) are also primed for new subscription models.
The Solaredge grid synchronization service hints at a path to collaboration with regulated monopolies. These invoke technical objections to the addition of solar farms they do not own, the somewhat misleading “duck curve” effect, added integration costs, arguments driven to protect the status quo. DER companies who develop elegant software to integrate their local storage plus generation models with the corresponding utility, so the latter incurs no new cost, will clear a path to success. Conventional EPC’s will not.
Silicon Valley cannot resist juicy tech markets.