AS THE GLOBAL POPULATION INCREASES AND DEVELOPING ECONOMIES CULTIVATE A growing middle class, corporations and consumers alike will seek affordable and efficient access to energy. These unprecedented demands will strain existing infrastructure and business models. The recent power outage in India where three of the country’s power grids collapsed, affecting 670 million people, highlights the urgency of developing innovative, distributed power generation solutions.
Renewable energy sources create clean and sustainable power with a grid-friendly model. Solar power in particular has become one of the leading renewable sectors. The solar industry has been growing by 50 percent annually worldwide and has created over 100,000 jobs in the United States.
Although solar is a growing and promising energy source, it can be prohibitively expensive to identify the best potential cust- omers. Despite recent technological advancements that have decreased the cost of solar panel systems, the business develop- ment side of growing a solar power business remains a challenge.
Tony Frazier is the Senior Vice President, Marketing for GeoEye, a leading source of geospatial information and insight. He leads GeoEye’s worldwide product management, communications, and field marketing. He plays a key role in evaluating and pursuing strategic growth opportunities for GeoEye.
Historically, the need to perform manual surveying and hand measurements in order to assess the solar return on investment (ROI) of an individual building’s rooftop made the creation of a data-driven solar marketplace cost prohibitive. In order to measure solar ROI across a wide geographic region, a company would have to rethink how it measures rooftops, abandoning the manual measurement process.Now those costly and time-consuming procedures are no longer necessary, thanks to Geostellar, an innovative technology company that is transforming the solar energy industry.
The Geostellar Vision and Business Problem
Geostellar set out to encourage the creation of a robust commercial market for solar power by reducing the financial and technical barriers to finding a building’s solar ROI, regardless of location. In particular, they sought to use data, analytics and computer mapping to encourage the ROI-driven installation of solar panels on rooftops, helping to increase the cost-effectiveness of renewable energy for both businesses and consumers by decreasing the cost and time required to assess the value of adding solar powers to a rooftop.
Geostellar developed an innovative analytics platform that automatically determines how quickly a given property owner can recoup an investment in solar energy. The company’s platform replaces manual measurements with automated models of roof slope, shadows, weather patterns, local utility rates and renewable energy incentives. See Figures 1-4.
Geostellar’s predictive algorithms allow property owners to easily determine the essen- tial factors for a solar panel system, including...
The complete article is available in the Summer 2012 Digital Edition of LBx Journal.