Like most home improvement projects, solar installation is a science. How we determine the system size, measure for install, and actually install the system is all based upon a series of calculations and numbers that guide our teams to a seamless installation. The first number start with, after your address and phone number, is a number that tells our engineer and design team how large your system needs to be. This number is based off a utility usage calculation known as a Utility API. Often, when we are working with clients, Utility API seems to concern homeowners. This short article will explain what a Utility API is, why we collect it, and the benefits this powerful number offers homeowners.
What Is Utility API?
Utility API is a safe and secure energy platform that allows for the exchange of energy data. Utility API provides Del Sol Energy with access to utility bills and usage history of a homeowner or business owner. With the explicit authorization of a homeowner or businessowner, Utility API provides us with information that allows us to evaluate and validate energy usage and savings from homes and businesses.
Utility API is a simple and secure process.
- Customer’s log into the Utility API platform with a link that we provide.
- From Utility API, customers’ log into their utility account.
- Customers then give permission for Utility API to provide the utility usage information to our engineering team.
All the information remains secure. Our team does not have access to account details outside of electrical usage. Utility API is fully compliant with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Data Guard standard for the Energy Data Privacy.
Why Does My Solar Company Need my Utility API?
For solar companies with discerning customers, Utility API is imperative. Utility API is a tool that tells solar engineers and designers how much electricity a household of business uses.
Why is this important? Energy usage is so important while designing a solar system because it tells the engineer exactly how much energy is used and when. The details can majorly impact the way a system is designed and the exact size of the system. A simple bill from the utility company does not provide the same detailed information. Therefore, t0 ensure a system is designed and sized appropriately, we must have the correct usage numbers. Incorrect usage numbers mean that systems are not necessarily built accurately. Assumptions and predictions could be made regarding usage, but without the actual calculation, there is extended room for error and these errors can equate to high true-up bills.
What are the Benefits of Utility API?
The benefits of integrating software such as Utility API into solar planning are numerous.
First and foremost, Utility API gives our team accurate information. Accurate information allows our team to design a system that answers to your usage 100%. If there are plans in the future of expanding the family, purchasing an electric car, or adding a pool or hot tub, our designer can add appropriate usage to that reported number. However, without Utility API, there is no way a solar sales representative can determine what size your system needs to be or how it should be designed.
Unscrupulous companies send a salesman into home and then make assumptions about a homeowner’s energy usage. These numbers are guesstimates based off of the size of the house and the people who live within the walls. However, no two households are the same. This means that if you get a system installed as your neighbor who has the same size home and the same number of children, you might be in for a rude awakening when your annual True-Up statement comes in. So, not accurate usage might cost homeowners a lot of money at the end of the year if the system was not built to manage the overall electrical usage.
On the other hand, if accurate information is not used to calculate usage, systems may be built too large for the needs of the homeowner. Although “too much” electrical production is not inherently bad, it can be an expensive mistake the homeowner has to pay for. A solar system that is only 4.3 kW is notably less expensive than one that is 8.0 kW. A homeowner, or business owner, does not want to pay for energy production they do not need.
The Science of Solar
The science of solar hedges far beyond how panels are made and how they produce usable electrical energy from the sun. The science extends into how systems are designed and installed on a rooftop. Like all calculations, when incorrect or inaccurate information is used for the calculation, the result will be incorrect. A solar system is an expensive improvement on the home that has a great ROI, when the systems are built correctly and accurately to size. Utility API is the key to insuring that the system that is designed and installed on your rooftop is accurate and correct. Working with a company that approximate usage without the assistance of real data is risky. The consequences are financial – either paying for a larger system after excessively high True-Up bills or overpaying for a system that has been overbuilt.
When you are ready to work with someone who understands the science of solar, take the time to reach out to one of our Energy Advisers at Del Sol Energy or stop by the showroom and work with our solar designer today.