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The Rise of Solar Energy in the Connected Home Era

Electrification is now part of the modern connected consumer lifestyle. According to Parks Associates consumer research, 17% of US households own a smart thermostat and 5% have solar panels. This represents a new amenity in some states and a required aspect of the home electrical infrastructure in others. In California, new buildings are required to be solar-ready and other states will soon follow suit.

Consumers who say they buy technology as soon as it is available are much more likely to say they own or plan to own home solar systems. Home builders who are working to differentiating properties and ask for a higher price, are including solar. Texas-based NATiVE Solar is a solar energy company that provides solar panel installation and related services to residential and commercial customers. The company is focused on helping its customers reduce their energy costs and carbon footprint by transitioning to clean, renewable energy sources. NATiVE Solar provides a range of services, including design and engineering, installation, maintenance, and financing options to make going solar as simple and cost-effective as possible.

Examples of builders who are incorporating solar as standard offerings include:

  • KB Home: KB Home has been incorporating solar panels into new homes in select markets since 2007 and has committed to offering solar as a standard feature in all new homes in California.
  • Lennar Homes: Lennar Homes has made a commitment to offer EveryLoft, their solar program, as a standard feature in all new homes in eight states, including California, Colorado, and Florida.
  • Meritage Homes: Meritage Homes has offered solar panels as a standard feature in all new homes in California since 2009 and has expanded its offering to include other states as well.
  • Pulte Homes: Pulte Homes has been incorporating solar panels into new homes in select markets since 2016 and has committed to making solar panels standard in all new homes in California.

Solar and storage represent upsell opportunities for renovators and integrators. Roofers can now install solar shingles, and EVSE installers can offer battery storage as an option to ensure optimum charging even when other major loads in the home are using capacity

Solar as Part of Home Energy Management

Consumers crave more data on their home electricity usage. Both hardware and smart home platform makers are looking to provide apps, analytics, and meaningful data for consumers to better understand their energy consumption and usage. Smart home platforms like SmartThings Energy, Brilliant, and Crestron help consumers understand energy usage and explain actions to take to save energy on a device-by-device basis. SmartThings Energy for example enables users to view real time metrics regarding their energy usage, receive energy-saving advice, and view future estimated costs. For example, costs can be reduced by closing smart blinds on sunny days and pausing appliance activity during peak electricity price periods. Including solar and storage in this solution allows the platform and homeowner more flexibility regarding whole home energy usage management, as having battery storage enables homeowners to utilize power throughout the day more efficiently. Devices like smart plugs and outlets are already giving consumers insights into specific device energy metrics. The inclusion of a solar/storage solution with an overall smart home platform can empower users with real-time data on all the devices in their home.

Solar panels can generate power to charge home storage batteries that support critical loads during a blackout. The Adapt energy platform paired with a Sonnen battery collects weather data and charges the battery in anticipation of blackouts from storms. Advanced technology is enabling systems to anticipate future events and be more prepared.

The solar and storage market will grow significantly in the coming years, and there will be opportunities for technology and service providers as well as energy companies and even connected home platforms.

Parks Associates will be addressing this topic along with leaders in the connected home and energy industries at its 15th annual Smart Energy Summit. Smart Energy Summit is co-located with DISTRIBUTECH, the largest utility and energy-focused conference in the world, on February 27-28 at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida.

Register here for your Smart Energy Summit when you use promo code DPART9.

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