Oracle aims at solar energy

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The Oracle Utilities Opower Distributed Energy Resources Customer Engagement Cloud Service initially offer rooftop solar customers helpful insight into their utility bills and energy savings and will expand to address other types of distributed energy resources (DERs) in the future such as electric vehicles and residential battery storage.

The Utilities customer engagement is one of four new products and more than 100 new features in the Opower platform.

Solar is the second fastest growing resource after natural gas in the US, and residential solar has grown by over 500MW every quarter over the last four years, accoridng to makrket researchers Wood Mackenzie. However, many early adopters have been dismayed with their expectation of utility bill savings versus the reality. This is resulting in an influx of calls to their utility provider, which have proven to be up to $8 more expensive and considerably longer than non-solar related calls.

Opower DER Customer Engagement addresses these challenges by providing utility customers with a personalized set of insights and recommendations relating to their overall energy generation, usage, and resulting bill.

“Engaging with our customers and providing them clear, consistent information about their energy consumption and production is critical,” said Feltrin Davis, Manager, Business Intelligence and Data Analytics Smart Energy Services, Exelon. “With Oracle, we have been able to regularly deploy new web tools for our solar/net energy meter customers and are updating them frequently to ensure we are providing the best experience possible.”

With Opower, Utilities can now send new solar customers onboarding communications explaining what to expect and how solar billing works. And new or existing customers can leverage online tools and insights to understand their net energy consumption. In addition, solar customers will also have a simple overview of their bills and a comparison of how their energy costs have changed since adopting solar. As a result, customers are happier and utilities reduce expensive call center volume.

“As distributed energy resources continue to rise, consumers are becoming more active and in control of their energy footprint – both as users and producers,” said Dan Byrnes, SVP of product development, Oracle Utilities. “They are looking to their utility to help guide them throughout this journey and provide the clear, accessible insights they need to make more informed decisions. This innovation is a critical step forward in enabling the kind of deeper relationship between utilities and their customers which is essential as the industry moves towards a more customer-centric grid model.”

Oracle claims the offering –s the only of its kind on the market and is powered by the world’s largest residential energy data analytics platform with over 1.6 trillion meter reads from more than 60 million households and businesses, across 100 utilities. Oracle bought the Opower platform in May 2016.


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