How software services can mitigate the effects of the recession on community solar – pv magazine USA

Successful community solar development requires harmonizing construction, financing, customer acquisition and management. Digital management platforms can give developers the tools to precisely manage these aspects and get the most out of their projects.

Community solar was built around the idea of ​​a virtual, off-site clean energy service for its customers. Eliminating the high cost and physical installation of solar panels was primarily aimed at opening up access to solar power to those who could not invest or install solar panels on rooftops.

In today’s new reality, community solar’s value proposition to the grid, its customers, and the environment remains strong. To keep community solar moving rapidly during these times, leveraging existing community solar software services can provide momentum to slow or stalled developments, while preserving the value of existing projects. Digital management platforms offer three main services that help developers quickly access resources to combat complexity and prepare for success.

Standardize operations digitally

Successful community solar development involves harmonizing three complex workflows: construction, financing, and subscriber acquisition and management; an arduous undertaking when program rules and market conditions vary from state to state and utility to utility.

The critical details of subscriber acquisition and management — kilowatt-hour and meter allocations, consumer protection, billing, and retention — impact entire community solar development workflows. A robust and flexible software service can help move subscriber operations to a fully digital environment and standardize the more complicated parts of community solar, especially the monetization of community solar credits.

With a scalable cloud-based platform as the foundation of operations, developers can reliably integrate subscriber-based revenue management into their project development operations with real-time transparency, access to critical data, and automated regulatory compliance.

Provide new capacity in the volatile short term

Our collective lives have moved online in 2020. For the safety and health of our communities, this is now where we shop, learn and socialize. This is forcing every business in nearly every industry to find new ways to engage customers and continue to deliver services safely and efficiently.

The solar industry is no different. While we know new developments are expected to slow down, potentially significantly, there are still hundreds of megawatts of new community solar capacity nearing completion that will soon come online. By using software services for customer acquisition and retention, community solar developers and operators can ensure that current solar subscriptions for each project remain full, while focusing on new project agreements.

Plan for the long term

The transition to fully digital operations has long-term benefits that will help the industry plan for growth and change in the future. By using digital management services for complete project operations, we can capture a massive dataset about subscribers and project development. This data can be used to better understand what motivates subscribers, what features interest them most, and why they discontinue services.

Data collected from project development can help portfolio managers allocate the most efficient resource mix for clients and give project developers clear signals on when to start subscribing, allowing bets. utility updates and timelines, all as part of the construction of the project.

A digital platform ready to help you today

When Rotate Energy Developed SunCentral, we sought to create a customizable cloud-based solution to manage projects and create value for subscribers. We also wanted to bring some standardization to a segment of the industry that is inconsistent from program to program.

Since its launch, we’ve improved to help businesses capture project data, simplify project operations, and create a more enjoyable customer experience. We program state and utility rules directly when they are registered, as well as allocation processes and billing processes.

Despite the obvious hurdles for the solar industry that will present themselves in the coming months, there remains an opportunity for developers and aggregators to use community software services to maximize current capacity in the short term and build a more robust industry at long term.

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Brit Gibson, Vice President of Client Services for Sun Central has four years of experience managing community solar portfolios on behalf of leading community solar developers and owner/operators in 16 states.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of photo magazine.

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