Solar combined with battery storage seems like magic to many residential and commercial customers. With a million and a half systems installed in the U.S., the question is no longer: “does solar work?” Instead, customers want to know how much money they will save with a system. And commercial customers are even more diligent about accurate savings predictions.
There are a plethora of “solar calculators” on websites all over the internet. But these crude calculators do not take into account detailed weather data, shading, orientation, equipment parameters and utility rates. Surprisingly, the utility rate information is hard to get, extremely detailed, and changes more often than import tariffs. And correlating hourly solar output data with these utility rates, time periods, rate tiers, fixed fees and demand charges can be a programming nightmare. I’ve had experience with huge spreadsheets that did these calculations for rates all over the country. Just thinking about a spreadsheet with 35,000 rows of 15 minute interval data is enough to make me reach for the Advil.
Traditionally, solar performance calculators only had to model energy flows in two directions: to the building or to the grid. With batteries there is a third path for the energy to flow, making it exponentially more complicated to optimize savings from a particular system design. Dedicated software tools such as Energy Toolbase provide an accurate software platform for modeling the economics of solar and storage products — and also provide professional proposal tools.
My guest on this week’s Energy Show is Adam Gerza, Chief Operating Officer of Energy Toolbase. Adam gained his solar chops after many years in the commercial solar industry. He knows the business and knows how to crunch the numbers. So leave the headaches to Energy Toolbase, and listen up to this week’s Energy Show as we speak with Adam about his company, solution and the solar + storage market.