Why Energy Automation Matters

Swarnav S Pujari

CEO at TouchLight Innovations

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We all know that switching to resilient and green sources of energy is necessary for society and the environment. However, for change to really happen on a large scale a problem – individuals need to see a problem solved for them.

Switching to renewable energy today doesn’t really solve the core problem of what homeowners and building owners want to see.

I want to pay the lowest electricity bill possible, but, I can’t dedicate 100s of hours to saving a few hundred or thousand a year.

The best example is for homeowners/property owners that have evaluated solar from traditional suppliers as the standard marketing pitch is “save money on electricity with zero money down”.

Evaluating the Opportunity Cost of going solar with traditional suppliers

How do we test what it takes to get quotes and how much time you as a homeowner would have to spend to evaluate and read through options?

Well, we asked an individual homeowner in New York to request a quote from the three biggest solar providers [Sunrun, Solar City/Tesla and Vivint] and we tracked what he went through to evaluate solar for his home.  

Phase One: Initial Scheduled Call

    • Each call was one hour long with providers
    • Some had to provide physical copies of utility bills, others had an online portal to provide bills [add an extra 2 hours for getting bills over to site]
    • During the process they will typically ask for a site visit [Solar City does not do this until you sign a contract*]

Total time spent = 5 – 8 hours

Phase Two: Early proposals with pricing

    • Initial proposals came back with PPA offers and Purchase offers
    • Pricing was provided for a 10 kW grid tied solar system
    • PPA rates were between $0.13/kWh and $0.15/kWh | Purchase rates are between $30K and $45K
    • Savings were estimated to be roughly $50/Month on his electricity bill if he signed the PPA

Total time spent = 3 – 5 hours

Phase Three: Bidding between providers

    • This is the process that took the longest, reviewing the initial bids and then having each rep bid back different pricing
    • Evaluating the payback proposals for making a purchase and alternative financing options

Total time spent = 10 + hours

Phase Four: Evaluating technology options and provided purchase options

    • Final offers are put in for bids
    • Most PPA offers came back to $0.13/kWh and technology provided was from Jinko or Canadian Solar
    • From here the homeowner had to go through the process of evaluating if the warranties and technology being provided was something they would rather purchase or get a PPA towards

Total time spent = 10 + hours

How to solve the major issues with attaining energy efficiency and reduced electricity bills

We can see that the major reasons why people don’t adopt from traditional suppliers:

    • High amount of time effort to validate the technology
    • Evaluation and bidding various suppliers for the lowest price as that is the only key differentiator between them
    • The savings don’t justify the amount of time that is needed to invest into picking a provider.

TouchLight resolves this by utilizing custom built automation software to make sure your property is always adopting to changing energy needs. Backed with a simple and flexible subscription agreement which has favorable terms for you – enables you to safely adopt energy hardware with little to no risk.

Conclusion

Fundamentally when you are going through the process of evaluating different methods to reduce your energy consumption and in turn save money on your utility bill make sure you are cognizant of the value of your time. As the landscape of energy efficiency and generation technologies are rapidly changing you need to choose a provider that can help give you the flexibility and support as your energy needs change year to year.

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