Early adopters are cost-effectively engaging customers about solar options with WattPlan®’s
interactive, online experience
Kirkland, Wash., June 17, 2015—Clean Power Research® (www.cleanpower.com) today launched WattPlan®, an online software application that enables utilities to cost-effectively engage customers with highly-personalized answers to energy questions such as: “Is solar right for me?” Built on energy valuation solutions developed over the past 17 years, WattPlan® incorporates newly available information such as interval data from smart meters, and innovations like rate optimization, to set a new standard for user-facing energy calculators.
“Research has shown that utilities that successfully engage their customers about energy alternatives have higher levels of customer satisfaction,” said Jeff Ressler, president of Software Services at Clean Power Research. “WattPlan® offers a scalable option to traditional methods of customer outreach, enabling utilities to engage customers online with a powerful and flexible platform that supports solar and new technologies.”
WattPlan® provides homeowners and small commercial businesses an interactive experience that is accessible directly from utility websites. Funded by a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Incubator award, WattPlan® early adopters include the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and Avista Utilities.
“We want to be our customers’ trusted energy advisor,” said Patrick McCoy, strategy planner at SMUD. “Providing solutions directly from our website makes it easier for them to explore their options, understand the costs and make informed decisions.”
“Our customers are becoming increasingly interested in rooftop solar, and Avista wants to be ready to support their needs and prepare for the future,” said Kelly Magalsky, solar initiatives manager from Avista. “The WattPlan® solar estimator is an affordable way for us to get ahead of the curve and start providing personalized solar information to our customers through an engaging self-service web tool.”
Engaging Customers about Solar with WattPlan®
Today, WattPlan® enables utilities to educate customers about their solar options based on each customer’s unique situation, including available sunlight and incentives, electric rate structure, rooftop characteristics, and electricity usage behavior. Using interval data from smart meters, WattPlan® can generate an even more precise analysis, which is needed to reliably calculate the economics of time-of-use rates or demand charges.
WattPlan® summarizes the results of each detailed analysis into understandable charts and tables, providing only the most meaningful results, such as:
- Energy and bill savings by month
- Optimal electric rate plan and system size
- Available tax credits and rebates
- Side-by-side comparisons of financing options (e.g., cash, loan or lease)
- Maps highlighting existing solar installations in the local community
Customers can easily change variables such as system size, finance rates or installed cost-per-watt to see the bottom-line impacts and make informed decisions.
The Future of WattPlan®: Going Beyond Solar
Initially launched for solar estimation, WattPlan® will soon support additional energy technologies, such as evaluating the economics of electric vehicles with and without rooftop solar. Additional features will make it possible to model the combined energy and economic effects of various energy efficiency measures, demand reduction and load shifting technologies.
“The engineering tools available today typically don’t account for the specific usage of a home or business, let alone support a consumer engagement with a phased approach to energy investment analysis,” noted Ressler. “WattPlan® resonates with utilities because of its approachability, modularity and deep personalization.”
The infographic “Five Characteristics of Great Utility Customer Engagement,” images and more information about WattPlan® are available in the Clean Power Research press kit.
As the nation’s sixth-largest community-owned electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for more than 65 years to Sacramento County (and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties). SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD is the first large California utility to receive more than 20 percent of its energy from renewable resources. For more information, visit smud.org.
Avista Corp. is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista Utilities is our operating division that provides electric service to 370,000 customers and natural gas to 330,000 customers. Its service territory covers 30,000 square miles in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.6 million. Alaska Energy and Resources Company is an Avista subsidiary that provides retail electric service in the city and borough of Juneau, Alaska, through its subsidiary Alaska Electric Light and Power Company. Avista stock is traded under the ticker symbol “AVA.” For more information about Avista, please visit www.avistacorp.com.
Avista Corp. and the Avista Corp. logo are trademarks of Avista Corporation. SOURCE: Avista Corporation.
About Clean Power Research
Clean Power Research is an award-winning innovator, delivering software products that enable customers to optimize financing, operation and integration of solar resources, engage consumers with personalized energy evaluations, and streamline business processes. Since 1998, utilities, government agencies, engineers, developers, manufacturers, installers and financiers have relied on Clean Power Research solar prediction, energy valuation and program optimization solutions to power their businesses. Clean Power Research has offices in Napa, Calif., and Kirkland, Wash. For more information, visit www.cleanpower.com.