US Solar needs a new model – Lumio answers from Silicon Slopes

Photovoltaic solar panels distributed on roofs and other structures are the most efficient way to go … [+] using this technology and is becoming increasingly important in our clean energy future. But it is important that we get the business model right.


The success of solar energy depends as much on its business model as it does on its photovoltaic cells. Despite the challenges of 2020 and the global pandemic, US solar installations hit record levels and the Energy Information Administration expects to far exceed those levels in 2021, with solar power accounting for 39% of all new power generation capacity in 2021, outperforming wind for the first time .

While utility-scale solar energy is cheaper than rooftop solar roofs, roofs will be more likely to make a bigger difference in our energy mix and in reducing CO2 emissions because they are easier to install in small pieces. It also doesn’t kill birds, occupies miles of pristine land in the Mojave, and doesn’t require billions of dollars in funding. And it doesn’t strain the network that much.

Dachsolar is simply logistically easier. America has over 170 billion square feet of residential roofs, about a third of which are pointing in the right direction. You don’t have to take more space away from nature. Even a new roof solar system in new buildings amortizes the costs to such an extent that the homeowner hardly notices them.

Solar generation since 2008

Monthly solar power generation in the US since 2008.

RRP / Grendel | khan

Rooftop solar is also more personal – owners feel like they are doing something in their own community. That’s why we have one on our roof. In addition to hydropower, nuclear power and wind, solar on the roof is an important part of every successful Green New Deal.

With the cost of solar energy falling significantly over the past 15 years (see the figure below), the US market has seen incredible growth (see the figure above). But with less than 3% of roofs covered, the consumer market has already seen major setbacks, humiliating giants in the solar industry, and mom & pop startups.

So it’s noteworthy that several smaller companies have merged to form Lumio, a solar company with a unique approach to this problem, like building a decentralized service platform, which can be an app on your iPhone, in a very centralized and old-fashioned hardware store.

How Uber did UBER for the drive.

Lumio just launched this month, but is already one of the top five US solar providers with a 12-month term of more than $ 1 billion in gross sales, over 3,500 employees in 37 states and strategic partnerships that all rolled into one new businesses are rare.

Solar costs

The cost of photovoltaics has fallen dramatically over the past ten years and is likely to continue to rise … [+] do this.


Lumio was born from a series of meetings between two leading companies in the renewable energy sector – Greg Butterfield (WordPerfect, Novell, Legato, Altiris, Symantec NLOK, Omniture, Vivint Solar, SolarWinds SWI, Workfront, Domo, Venafi, Route) and Jonathan Gibbs, CEO of Intelligent Energy Today. Each saw a unique strength in the other – perfect for the occasion – and each took their next big step.

Butterfield said, “Gibbs came into my office with a business plan that was already on my whiteboard. He wants to build exactly what I wanted to build. ”

Greg Butterfield has an unmatched track record of growing incredible companies and leaders over the past 30 years, and Gibbs has an unwavering focus on the customer experience and the openness to learn how to lead this next generation. The Match Cold built one of the most influential companies.

Lumio is working to be a lot more than just another solar company. Together with the intelligent software Home Experience, they seem to be creating a whole new category and era of intelligent energy generation and management. Imagine if your house generates its own electricity and manages how and when that electricity is consumed or stored, or even purifies its own water, filters its own air, and dispatches professionals when Lumio alerts you of a problem.

What do you currently do when you need to buy something for your home, solar, HVAC, garden services?

You google.

You start a search process and then evaluate. Then buy in the price. Then plan. Basically, any home improvement job, no matter how big or small, you need to become your own general contractor. We all have had bad experiences with it.

Although solar is booming, it is still a scary concept for many homeowners. The main reason people don’t buy solar energy today is because they don’t really understand it or they don’t trust the person who is trying to sell it.

Lumio simplifies the learning experience, the financing process, the buying experience, and energy management – it has to be a simple and enjoyable decision or the homeowner won’t make it.

Roof solar 2

Solar on the roof can go anywhere in any direction.

Smart energy

The average installation time in the solar industry is 60-90 days. The average installation time of Lumio (with high satisfaction) is less than 30 days – in some cases less than 10 days. Less than 1,111 days that Bill Maher had to go through in California to set up his solar panels.

Together with Lumio’s experience of implementing several improvements such as new roofs, battery backups and intelligent technology upgrades in the same house, the idea of ​​a smart energy shop from a single source becomes a reality.

“Speed ​​is the currency of solar energy,” says Jonathan Gibbs. “The future leaders in this industry will ultimately find a way to reliably complete installations in seven days or less while improving the customer experience.”

And it’s an extensive list of companies that have come together to form Lumio, with each company bringing different levels of expertise to complete this. They are Atlantic Key Energy, DECA, Lift Energy, Our World Energy, and Smart Energy Today. Each is a leader in their respective markets in terms of customer satisfaction and installation time (see footnote for links and key players).

In recent years, large household solar companies have struggled to make a profit. Two of the country’s largest private solar companies combined lost over $ 500 million in the first nine months of the year, and their solar system operations and purchases combined consumed $ 1.3 billion in cash.

A new business and operating model was therefore required.

Solar has the support of the new administration. President Biden has pledged to make the United States a leader in clean energy production as part of his efforts to boost the economy and create millions of green jobs, even given Asia’s continued status as the dominant center for solar production and despite high levels Trump administration tariffs.

So it’s also good that Smart Energy Today, the seed of Lumio, only uses indigenous components in its solar systems, which are also necessary to receive some of the state and federal financial incentives.

Solar proponents say there are good reasons for the Biden government to be interested in manufacturing. Producing more solar parts domestically could ease the transition to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035, a campaign promise from Biden that requires massive expansion of renewable, hydropower and nuclear power.

Almost 90% of America’s low-carbon energy sources come from hydropower (21%) and nuclear (67%), which together save nearly a billion tons of CO2 emissions each year.

Increasing hydro is easy. The Department of Energy and the National Hydropower Association have a plan to double hydropower in America over the next two decades without building a single new dam, by operating existing non-powered dams for new electricity and pumped storage.

Advanced nuclear reactors and small modular reactors (SMRs) are ideal for a low carbon future, but the political hurdles are still big. However, since SMRs are particularly well suited for load-following renewable energies, especially solar energy, they will be necessary if we want to reduce natural gas.

So among the non-fossil fuel sources available to us, we can achieve a just and sustainable low-carbon energy future. We just have to speed it up a little!

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