Accounting for Reductions in Electricity Usage

Often, when a homeowner or business owner installs a solar system, they implement other energy-saving measures at the same time. Examples might include programmable thermostats, LED light bulbs, energy-efficient appliances, etc. In fact, some solar installers offer these and other energy-saving upgrades to their customers, in addition to solar installations.

If you are proposing a solar system as well as energy-saving measures, or if your customer has indicated that he plans to reduce his energy usage in the future, it is now possible to account for reduced electricity usage within the MODsolar Platform!

When you enter the current electricity usage, you now have the ability to indicate that the prospect’s future electricity usage will be different than his current usage. Just as with current usage, you can indicate the usage with a yearly value (which is then automatically divided into months by the Platform, using a usage “curve” that is typical of the prospect’s zip code), or you can enter actual individual monthly values. (This would allow you to account for reduced energy usage only in certain months — for example, to reflect the replacement of an electrical heating system with gas, thus reducing usage during the winter months.)

By default, the Platform assumes that future usage will be the same as current usage, as indicated by a checkbox that is checked by default. However, if you click the checkbox to clear it, you’ll be able to enter the future usage.

Below are screen shots of the Electricity Usage section of the Name/Address/Usage page, for illustration:

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The screen shots below illustrate that the same functionality is available in the slide-out “accordion” panel for Current Usage:

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Furthermore, in the case of commercial and municipal customers, you can now specify alternate future PEAK DEMAND values. As in the case of current peak demand, you have the option of entering a single value that will apply to all months, or you can enter a unique value for each month. Below you can see the screenshots illustrating the future peak demand entry. (Remember, peak demand is only applicable for commercial and municipal leads; it does not even appear in the forms for residential leads.)

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It’s worth pointing out that peak demand typically plays a much more prominent role in determining the electricity cost for commercial and municipal customers. This is why commercial solar proposals may not always reflect electricity cost savings after solar installation; the peak demand is still determining the bulk of the cost. Now, with this new feature, you can enter the projected reduction in peak demand, and you’ll see a noticeable reduction in the post-solar electricity cost. But be careful — peak demand will not necessarily go down using the same ratio as usage. Remember, usage is reported in kilowatt hours; it represents the total ENERGY used over the time period (a month or a full year). Peak demand, on the other hand, is reported in kilowatts; it represents the highest momentary POWER that is drawn during the month. A specific commercial customer’s reduction in peak demand after “going solar” will depend on the nature of the property and the customer’s business. For example, if their current peak draw occurs during the middle of the afternoon (when the solar system is generating a lot of electricity), it is reasonable to expect that the draw will be reduced dramatically and thus the peak will occur at a different point in time (and be a lower value). On the other hand, if their current peak draw occurs, for example, at 2 AM on the 15th of every month (when they cycle power on all of their heavy equipment), then the installation of solar is not going to have an impact, and the future peak demand will be the same as current peak demand. So be careful not to “oversell”; set an appropriate expectation in your commercial customer’s mind as to how much they’ll save on electricity.

Finally: we’ve modified the “Production Pie Chart” proposal component (the one that shows post-solar electricity usage vs. solar production as a percentage of pre-solar usage), so that it will show a THIRD “pie slice” if you’ve entered future usage. This will allow you to see the percentage of current usage that will be replaced by solar, the percentage that will be reduced due to the reduced usage projections, and the percentage that will still come “from the grid.” The component is smart enough to automatically show the third slice only if future usage was entered; if future usage is the same as current usage, the component will only show two pie slices, as it always has. See below for an example.

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We hope you enjoy these new features, and the added capabilities that they provide in your proposals.

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