Bundled Energy Is (Finally) Ready for Primetime in the U.S.

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed
a package of climate-related bills
 into law to help the Golden
State meet its climate goals. Among them were three bills
supporting building decarbonization.

Building energy efficiency is a critical component of any
successful strategy to curb energy use or decarbonize the overall
economy, and typically cheaper than paying for generation. And yet,
enticing homeowners and business owners to take on extensive energy
efficiency projects has remained notoriously difficult.

But there is new a opportunity in the U.S. for energy efficiency
to be part of an attractive offering, and not just the clean tech
equivalent of being told to eat your vegetables. Energy bundles, in
a range of different flavors — from smart home-plus-solar in
residences, to facility maintenance and sophisticated demand
response in commercial settings — are redefining energy
efficiency. These solutions are not only more palatable, but often
more pleasing and more sophisticated than in the past.

“In markets all over the world we have seen the convergence of
energy efficiency, electric vehicles, storage and more adjacent
capabilities delivered as one unified solution,” said Deepak
Budhiraja, vice president of product management for GridPoint, a Virginia-based smart
buildings technology company that works with the C&I sector.
“When there is a synergy of products and services, a more
powerful, simplified relationship is established with the
customer.”

A confluence of factors has made this sort of simplified bundle
of products and services possible. On one level, energy consumers
now expect to be treated like actual customers (not meters or
ratepayers) — a development that has put the onus on utilities
and other providers to meet the increasing demand for a range of
distributed energy products with innovative, customer-centric
offerings. In many cases, it’s new entrants rising to the
challenge.


SparkFund
, for example, a Washington, D.C.-based energy
subscription startup, is combining multiple technologies to offer
bundled solutions for C&I customers through their Sparkfund
Technology Subscription.

At the same time, the proliferation of low-cost connected
devices and as-a-service pricing models reduces the cost of
integrating different types of technologies. “This model not only
reduces the up-front cost burden for customers, but also enables
collaborative bundles of other products and services.” said
Budhiraja.

Taken together, this is an important evolution. But energy
efficiency bundles should not just be limited to the utility
industry, and increasingly, they are finding new outlets. Beyond
utilities and energy retailers, “there are other partners, like
facility management or security companies, that can deliver a
greater value through a converged offering,” said Jason Narod,
SVP of sales and business development at GridPoint.

Capturing the lost opportunity

For example, Narod points to
Bell Canada offering
 commercial customers emerging Internet of
Things (IoT) solutions that help manage energy consumption and
costs. The potential benefits of these more expansive bundles of
products and services are especially obvious for over-extended
small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners.

“What this really does is unlock the SMB sector, because you
have owners of a restaurant franchise, and all they care about is
serving more meals at their five locations,” said Narod. “If
I’m that person, I know I have to buy electricity and security,
but I don’t have time to research a building controls program. It
opens the door for an offer from someone they already do business
with and trust.”

But the benefits aren’t just limited to owners of SMBs —
they apply to all commercial buildings. For its part, GridPoint
utilizes its data analytics expertise to optimize bundled services,
such as efficiency technologies, storage, facility management,
retrofits, utility programs and demand response. GridPoint can then
also uncover additional opportunities based on a customer’s
unique energy consumption patterns.

GridPoint offers a foundation to build bundles that allow
technologies to grow beyond their traditional functionality,
according to Narod. “We drive real savings and can uncover
insights about the best products to bundle together,” he added,
while also delivering the flexibility utilities increasingly
require.

For utilities to get the most out of bundling, it often makes
sense to partner. “Utilities are focused on their core business
and deploying energy bundles presents both an opportunity and a
challenge,” said Narod. “They could scale more quickly by
working with partners who have sales and technical knowledge. It
makes the customer experience simple and delivers exponential value
through one transaction.” 

It’s not just the downward cost curve on distributed energy
resources, sensoring and technology that’s making bundles a
reality, but also the global shift to mobile.

“Most smaller businesses can’t afford to hire energy
managers, but everyone has a phone in their pocket. Imagine an
integrated bundle with solar, storage and energy management that
connects with the utility in real-time on your mobile device,”
said Budhiraja. “The bundled solution could intelligently
orchestrate events between these assets to maximize value for
customers and utilities. Everybody wins.”

Source: FS – Transport 2
Bundled Energy Is (Finally) Ready for Primetime in the U.S.



Leave a Reply