Selling C&I Solar+Storage Is Complicated. Here are 14 Tips
“How do you sell C&I solar+storage?” Some might answer, “the same way you sell solar,” but it’s not that simple. In fact, if you’ve tried to sell solar with residential or C&I (commercial & industrial) energy storage, you’ve probably found that nothing about storage is “Plug & Play.”
As Josh stated in this Ask SepiSolar Anything episode, “Energy storage is a dream project–or product– for engineers. It’s a dream product because it’s a financial problem, it’s a technical problem, and it’s also a sales problem on how to articulate these systems to the private sector. It can be extremely complex and difficult.”
It’s because of this complexity that we have our monthly Ask SepiSolar Anything webinars. While SepiSolar does do NABCEP training about solar+storage, we realize that contractors and developers have specific questions about the technical and financial modeling aspects of selling C&I (and residential) storage.
14 C&I Solar + Storage Questions and Tips
Below is a run-down of the audience questions with a time code. Click on the time code and you’ll jump to a new tab with the answers from SepiSolar’s CEO Josh Weiner and Systems Engineer John Henley. (We had some intermittent technical issues with the visuals, but you should be able to hear everything.)
- 00:00 Josh shares his experience selling C&I storage with Green Charge Networks
- 08:34 What’s the minimum size of storage required to offset to perform demand reduction?
- 11:27 We’re a small solar installer, mostly residential, but people are starting to ask us about storage. Any beginner’s advice?
- 19:39 Does the solar system size make a difference on whether or not you use an AC or DC-coupled storage system?
- 21:33 Are you limited to the size of the solar system on the site with storage? Or does solar change or limit of the size of a storage system?
- 23:20 I’ve been trying to find information to do a return on investments for doing peek shaving for one of my clients. They use about 2 MWhs per year. Is there a financial modeling service out there or any calculators that I can use?
- 24:53 Do you use the algorithms from the different storage manufacturers in your calculations?
- 27:58 Are you seeing developers returning to their customer to add energy storage to the original solar generation assets?
- 31:44 I’m doing some work for an irrigation district. Is there a way to store energy for their big pumping times? They have 400 horsepower wells.
- 34:28 Does SepiSolar handle off-grid projects, for example, microgrid projects with solar plus storage, plus a generator, as well as only grid-tied?
- 36:43 When do you think the commercial customer needs a microgrid, as opposed to just solar plus storage? Is there some way to define that?
- 41:22 Josh offers some more C&I selling tips, including his perspective on Time of Use (TOU) arbitrage.
- 44:15 We have a few customers who don’t have historical usage data because they’ve been off grid marijuana growers. Can we model their usage, or would you recommend that they wait until they’re up and running for at least a year?
- 47:00 Josh offers some more C&I market insights on where storage is needed and tells you about SepiSolar Academy, our new NABCEP SepiSolar Training for PV and Storage.
Join us for the next Ask SepiSolar Anything
We asked what you’d like to see for the next Ask SepiSolar Anything topic, and the winner is… Energy Storage Permitting requirements. Josh and the team will be fielding your questions on the best practices for getting your residential and commercial energy storage projects approved.
This episode will take place on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern.
Of course, if you have any questions before then, please always feel free to contact us!