Go Beyond Basic Solar To Deliver Savings To Homeowners
Energy prices can change in the blink of an eye.
When Hurricane Harvey tore through Texas and Louisiana, it brought tragedy and catastrophic flooding. It also brought devastation to the Houston-area oil and gas infrastructure. Energy production in the Gulf of Mexico dropped 21 percent, leading to the highest U.S. gas prices in two years, along with a price spike in natural gas—the largest source of utility-scale electricity generation in the nation.
Even without natural disasters, home power bills are going up. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential electricity prices increased by 34 percent between 2005 and 2015. Even states with relatively cheap power costs are starting to see prices go up. Colorado’s average electricity price jumped a whopping 67 percent between 2000 and 2014.
Challenges With Basic Solar
The increasingly pricey energy market may have a positive side, if it helps homeowners move past traditional roadblocks that stand in the way of a solar purchase. A lack of differentiation between solar offerings has worked against home solar purchases in the past. Unlike the variety of options in other big purchases like a car or a house, solar systems have traditionally operated and looked pretty similar, at least in consumers' eyes. There are variations in terms of energy output and visual aesthetics, but the differences are small enough to prevent any unique features from capturing the imagination of buyers.
At the same time, there's a core problem with solar power in the home. When the sun is out, and generation is at peak-level, people are usually at the office or out of the home. Early evening—when most people arrive home from work or school and begin to make dinner, do a load of laundry, and turn on the television—tends to be the time of greatest demand, just when the sun is starting to go down and solar production drops.
In the past, this mismatch between energy needs and solar panel production wasn't as crucial, because utilities often compensated the homeowner fairly for the excess power that he or she fed back into the grid during the day. But as solar grows, the rates utilities have offered homeowners have dropped, extending the time needed to recoup a home solar investment. Meanwhile, today’s generation of solar system buyers is demanding more savings.
Keep What You Capture — The Next Generation of Home Solar
Enter Flex PowerPlay, a smart and connected residential solar solution. Flex PowerPlay integrates solar production with local storage and smarter energy management, allowing homeowners to actually use more of the energy they make on site and reduce reliance on the conventional grid.
With PowerPlay, homeowners now have the ability to easily manage home energy usage. For example, homeowners can shift their air conditioning to largely avoid the utility’s time-of-use rate changes. By providing this level of control, our new solar solution throws the economics of solar into overdrive.
Another way Flex PowerPlay takes solar to the next level is by enabling homeowners to see real-time data. Most systems only provide interval data. With real-time data homeowners can program their systems to deliver powerful automated savings. Homeowners can tell PowerPlay to optimize their savings in real time, whenever their home energy demands change or a rate change occurs.
Flex PowerPlay is built on robust, proven technology already deployed in tens of thousands of energy systems and connected homes. To round out our new offering, Flex has also created a premium customer experience, including world-class, six-days-a-week support backed by one of the largest technology companies in the world. Add it all up, and it’s clear that solar has moved way beyond basic.
In the midst of an increasingly expensive residential energy market, homeowners will no doubt find these features to be a welcome innovation.