Commercial solar customers of Sungevity will now utilize cyber-secure energy monitoring and management software from microgrid company CleanSpark.
Better known as a residential solar provider, Sungevity sees an opportunity in the ‘small-scale business sector,’ which includes retail stores, medical offices, corporate campuses, private schools, gas stations, and houses of worship.
Sungevity announced its entry into the commercial solar market in March 2015. The integration with CleanSpark was piloted in California in Q4 2015, and is scheduled to fully roll out in the same region by the summer of 2016, with additional markets to follow.
Energy security, reliability and economics are cited as the primary drivers of the partnership.
“The CleanSpark energy management and monitoring suite is the most sophisticated we’ve seen in the commercial market,” said Dave Dunlap, Chief Development Officer of Sungevity. “Our commercial customers will now have access to millisecond interval usage and generation data, enabling them to make assessments and take immediate cost-saving actions by cutting their energy costs.”
The CleanSpark technology suite can be easily bundled with energy storage, and the offering could give Sungevity customers the ability to take advantage of evolving market conditions, essentially future-proofing Sungevity’s value proposition.
Is This A Gateway To A Sungevity Microgrid?
Taking the partnership one step further, equipping their commercial customers with CleanSpark energy management software could open a bottom-up path to CleanSparks’ version of a FractalGrid, where electricity is traded between microgrids that can operate autonomously or in concert with neighboring microgrids.
Though Sungevity is not currently bundling energy storage or the ability to island from the utility grid, this partnership positions them to provide these services in the future.
Speaking broadly about solar companies finding value in a post net-metering (NEM) environment, a Sungevity representative agreed that microgrids “will be adopted increasingly in non-NEM markets as microgrid costs come down and energy costs continue to increase.”
One reason electricity prices continue to rise is that electric utilities are compensated for building as much transmission infrastructure as they can get away with. This, along with maintaining their current monopolies align utilities with the centralized electric system we have today.
As utilities fight to maintain the centralized, top-down system, solar companies like Sungevity are well positioned to provide distributed energy services that bundle solar, energy storage, and intelligent energy management systems. National laboratories and The Department of Defense are investing heavily in next generation microgrids.
These microgrids provide an ideal test-bed for both technical and business model innovations. The CleanSpark technology being employed by Sungevity is the result of Department Of Defense getting serious about renewable energy and challenging the start-up company to provide cost-effective solutions.
The resulting microgrid at Camp Pendleton creates a new standard for reaching high levels of renewable energy, resilience, and cyber-security.
Their technology can integrate seamlessly with existing grid infrastructure. CleanSpark microgrids were designed to be infinitely scaled for multifamily residential, commercial, industrial, military, municipal, and remote community deployment, paving the way for a bottom-up transformation of the electric grid.
CleanSpark recently partnered with Renova and Global Impact, the Sungevity partnership is notable as a customer-facing company.
“Sungevity has emerged as the industry’s leading solar platform company, recognized for its cutting-edge technology and unparalleled service to customers,” said Mike Firenze, CEO of CleanSpark. “We’re excited to include our proprietary monitoring and management technology with their offering, to provide Sungevity’s commercial customers with real-time, hands-on control of their electricity usage.”