Solar Companies Value Consumer Data That Utilities Ignore at Their Peril
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Bloomberg Businessweek
Posted: December 2nd, 2013
The same rooftop solar providers that are threatening utility revenues are more than just occupying customer roofstheyre inside the home, monitoring usage trends and adapting the systems to meet both the homeowners needs and their own bottom lines. SolarCity, Sunrun, SunPower, and Locus Energy are amassing billions of points of data in smart home systems that consumers love and that baffle utilities, many of which have no incentive to help consumers manage their power usage more efficiently. While utilities have installed millions of smart meters in homes, they havent made use of the data to engage consumers the same way solar providers have, says Neil Strother, a smart-grid analyst. Utilities are more focused on cutting their own costs than in helping consumers become more efficient, he says. They arent motivated to reduce demand. The solar systems, meanwhile, collect real-time data on hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across the country that utilities could use to more efficiently and reliably manage their power grids. Nat Kreamer, chief executive officer of Clean Power Finance, says some utilities dont see the potential benefits of using smart meters to engage with consumers to improve their service or reduce their utility bills. I asked an executive at one top 10 utility what he was hoping to get from smart meters, and he basically said just to eliminate the meter readers, Kraemer says.
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