For the first time in the history of shared buildings, there is finally a viable solution to efficiently remove an entire community’s energy consumption footprint and replace it with onsite clean energy. Ivy Energy, a San Diego-based cleantech company, has developed a proprietary solar energy billing software called Virtual Grid, which makes it easy for property owners to invest in solar energy for their community and deliver monthly energy savings to tenants. The software uses smart grid logic and proprietary algorithms to distribute solar energy between multiple units accurately. The team behind this major advancement in solar for shared buildings comes from various backgrounds, including real estate development, energy monitoring software, and solar industry operations.
Simplifying Clean Energy for All
By enabling the mass adoption of solar energy on shared buildings, Ivy successfully creates social equity for non-home-owning energy consumers who have been left out of the clean energy revolution.
“Our goal is to help property owners offset their tenant energy load with solar and distribute the savings in an accurate, compliant, and data-driven format. This innovation is a win for everyone by delivering social equity benefits, real estate market value, environmental impact, and energy grid support. Launching our Virtual Grid software has led to much more widespread adoption of solar energy on multi-unit buildings. The feedback we have received from our clients attests to the effectiveness of our technology,” said Austin Young, VP of Marketing of Ivy Energy.
Virtual Grid’s monthly solar energy bills are integrated into the owner’s rent ledger system allowing for owner efficiency in monthly bill distribution as well as tenant payment collection. The digital billing statement format explains the cost delta between using traditional energy versus the savings provided from solar energy. Instead of tenants receiving a standardized discount on their energy bill, Ivy uses utility-grade monitoring to intelligently distribute solar savings. The platform translates this usage data into easy-to-follow tips that help tenants optimize their electricity usage, pushing tenants to use more live solar and maximize their energy savings. The company also manages the tenant customer support aspect, ensuring that its customer service team handles all the bill queries and concerns of the tenants, so property owners and their teams don’t have to worry about handling ongoing support.
Ivy Energy is continuing to expand live solar utilization and is building a system to support the grid and provide highly valuable DER assets for grid operators. Solutions like central energy storage reduce solar energy export and maximize on property energy consumption of generated energy and create less strain on the distribution and transmission infrastructure. This will only become worse over time as nighttime Electric Vehicle (EV) charging demand will strain the grid and likely cause supply issues from transmission systems. This is where distributed clean energy on multi-family buildings will play a vital role in our community clean energy targets and is part of a diverse clean energy transition plan that leverages all of the advancements available.
Problem Solvers and Advocates for the Future of Solar
Ivy Energy focuses on solving the problems for all stakeholders that play a critical role in transforming how clean energy is deployed and consumed in shared real estate communities. Another critical area in which Ivy Energy has been able to drive change is in policy initiatives to make solar energy more widespread on multifamily units.
In California, owners of single-family homes have greatly benefited from solar energy adoption, but only a few tenants of multifamily buildings have seen any benefit. The CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) NEM 3.0 proceedings began in early 2021 and have been ongoing ever since. One of the sub-tariffs, Virtual Net Energy Metering (VNEM), was included in the proceedings. This sub-tariff allows for a cost-effective solar system to be installed on a multi-family building without wiring into every unit individually, ultimately wasting resources.
Several significant changes were being proposed that would impact the compensation mechanism for clean energy projects at multifamily properties. The policy experts at Ivy Energy reviewed the proposal and were able to make several key points on the docket to help influence the Commission to scrap the proposal. Ivy Energy argued that changing the VNEM tariff this early in adoption and without proper data could effectively cripple the market’s future.
Ivy’s advocacy was vital, as they were the only company exclusively advocating on behalf of multi-unit properties, and it paid off. Ivy’s comments on the docket are directly quoted as a driving force for the CPUC to refrain from changing VNEM tariffs at this time. The CPUC stated:
“The Commission finds that the record in this proceeding does not contain a sufficient analysis of the VNEM and NEMA tariffs. In comments to the proposed decision, Ivy Energy correctly asserts that the Lookback Study omits any analysis of VNEM or the multifamily sector as a distinct customer class”
In addition to impacting the CPUC decision, Ivy Energy will continue to work with the CPUC in 2023 through a multifamily-specific workshop to analyze the unique factors influencing multifamily solar adoption. The workshop will provide the CPUC with a better understanding of the split incentive issue and others that are vital contributors to multifamily solar adoption being about ten years behind the residential solar market.
Comprehensive Support and Guidance for Property Owners
Ivy’s Virtual Grid software is a solution for multifamily solar energy adoption, but what sets them apart is their support and expertise for property owners. With California’s renewable energy goals feeding policy changes, many property owners feel overwhelmed trying to keep up and remain compliant. From Title 24’s solar mandate to EV charger incentives and the solar incentives of the Inflation Reduction Act, Ivy provides resources and expert guidance to help navigate it all. By offering a complete package of support, Ivy Energy has established itself as an industry leader for multifamily property owners looking to make a meaningful impact on their energy consumption and carbon footprint.
With the clean energy industry and technology quickly evolving, Ivy Energy continues to innovate and expand its offering to provide comprehensive clean energy solutions to property owners. Recently, the company announced the completion of its beta testing of an EV charging billing product. The new feature will enable property owners to track and bill tenants for EV charging services accurately and aligned with better solar utilization incentives that increase asset performance and better support the energy grid. This innovative solution helps property owners promote sustainable transportation by encouraging the use of electric vehicles and further reducing carbon emissions. Ivy Energy’s EV charging billing product is a testament to the company’s commitment to providing forward-thinking and practical solutions that help property owners create more sustainable communities. By expanding its offerings, Ivy Energy is positioning itself as a one-stop shop for clean energy solutions, making it easier for property owners to transition to a more sustainable future.
This innovation hasn’t gone unnoticed. Ivy Energy’s groundbreaking work has been recognized by several notable industry publications and awards programs. Solar Power World named Ivy Energy a Top Solar and Monitoring software for two consecutive years, highlighting the company’s ongoing commitment to innovation in the solar industry. Energy Tech Review Magazine also recognized Ivy Energy as a Top Renewable Energy Solutions Provider, cementing the company’s position as a leader in the renewable energy space. Saving the most notable award for last, Ivy Energy has made it to the finals of the prestigious Edison Awards, which, as its namesake Thomas Edison inspires, honors innovations that make a positive impact on the world.
How much can Software Impact the Environment?
For starters, Ivy-enabled communities have saved 42,547,020 pounds of coal from being used for electricity generation. Furthermore, in 2022 alone, Ivy-enabled communities offset 4.03 million pounds of CO2. To put that in perspective, this is the equivalent of 394 gas-powered vehicles taken off the road for an entire year.
While many people are motivated to reduce their carbon footprint, renters have had limited renewable energy options to help them get there. In California, over 46% of the population rents yet only 1% of multifamily communities have solar energy, in comparison to 12% of single-family homes. Ivy is a crucial part of closing the gap in solar energy adoption and helping California achieve its renewable energy goals.
Ivy Energy’s Virtual Grid software is a groundbreaking innovation that has made it easier for property owners to invest in solar energy for shared buildings by providing a clear path to ROI and streamlining management. The software’s smart grid logic and proprietary algorithms allow for the accurate distribution of solar energy between multiple units, resulting in significant energy savings for tenants. Moreover, the company’s focus on social equity for energy consumers has helped create a more inclusive clean energy revolution. As we move towards a more sustainable future, Ivy Energy’s Virtual Grid software is a step in the right direction for reducing carbon emissions and promoting energy efficiency in shared buildings.
To learn more about Virtual Grid by Ivy Energy or if you have questions about the topics discussed in this article, please visit https://www.ivy-energy.com/