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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Easing purchase transaction process is still a challenge: Insights from Sonnen, Inc.

Olaf Lohr, Director of Business Development at Sonnen, Inc., provided insight on several key industry trends for Parks Associates’ eighth-annual Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer, which will be held February 20-22 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas:

What do you think is the most challenging issue for your company as it relates to the residential energy management market?

Managing and maintaining the growth. We are entering an established industry with very large players, so Sonnen needs to grow fast, deliver a quality product and support the market in all aspects.

What are the major challenges that your business must address in 2017? In 2020?

The biggest challenge still lies in building the market. That includes educating all stakeholders, and building technological capabilities - bot inside the product and in connecting with and controlling other parts of the home. 

In 2020, the focus is on value - that includes further building capabilities to deliver functionality while keeping the cost low.

What are the major barriers impacting consumer adoption of energy related products and services?

The ease of the purchase transaction is still a challenge.

Energy storage is still a new product class. Financing is still a hurdle, and permitting delays and rapidly changing rules of the utilities are creating some hesitance at the end customer.

With our approach to work closely with local partners we feel that we can provide the needed education and expertise to the end customers.

What are the biggest opportunities for the smart home industry to work with the utility industry?

Creating more comfort in our homes has historically increased our energy use. With a smart home, we can now achieve it and use less energy than before. A smart home can now even help the utilities to balance the grid – e.g. with demand reduction, or even providing grid functions - like injecting energy back into the grid when needed.

What impact will smart products and smart home services have on consumer adoption of energy solutions?

Smart products make saving energy easier to achieve - no doubt about it. Customers can reduce their usage without sacrificing comfort, and also monitor and manage it per smartphone. This makes it fun to get involved. Just look at the excitement the NEST and other smart thermostats created. Nobody even knew how much energy use is tied to the temperature setting a few years back, and now it’s at our fingertips.

Lohr will speak on the session “Solar Industry: Integration and Competition” on Wednesday, February 22 at 8:45 a.m. Other speakers on the panel include Vivint Solar, Sunnova, Green Mountain Energy, and Enphase.

For more information on the Smart Energy Summit, visit www.SES2017.com or register by clicking here.

Next: Grid4C: Smart home can help utilities achieve energy goals
Previous: Only 15% of programmable thermostats are ever programmed: Insights from LUX Products


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