Five unique features to Glow Energy’s solar billing software
Multifamily owners are beginning to invest in on-site solar programs to drive economic value for both ownership and residents alike, as well as improve building sustainability. To successfully implement an on-site solar energy program, property owners should choose a solution that maximizes financial returns, ensures compliance with utility regulations, and delivers the best experience for residents and property managers. Here are five features that make Glow Energy’s software shine as a multifamily solar software solution.
Multifamily owners are beginning to invest in on-site solar programs to drive economic value for both ownership and residents alike, as well as improve building sustainability. To successfully implement an on-site solar energy program, property owners should choose a solution that maximizes financial returns, ensures compliance with utility regulations, and delivers the best experience for residents and property managers.
Here are five features that make Glow Energy’s software shine as a multifamily solar software solution.
1. Fully compliant with the Public Utilities Code
When supplying a unit with solar energy, a real estate operator might think that taking over the resident’s electric utility account and passing through solar energy charges is a simple solution. This solution is not easy to implement in practice, requiring the property manager to individually contact every tenant and manually move tenant accounts into the owner/manager’s name. Furthermore, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently published strong language disapproving of this approach, stating:
“The Commission finds that if the tenant gives up their separately metered account for bill consolidation under the property owner, the customer is not in compliance with the VNEM tariff. Customer access to the VNEM tariff as well as the successor VNEM tariff is dependent on the tenant retaining account ownership."
Glow Energy has built a novel solar billing solution for multifamily owners which allows residents to digitally share access to their utility billing data while maintaining account ownership. Glow Energy does this by linking to a resident’s utility account when they sign up for the platform. This one-time setup is very simple for program participants and administrators and ensures that Glow is compliant with CPUC guidance on VNEM program participation.
2. Data-driven forecasting to maximize revenue
Glow Energy automatically retrieves up to two years of historical utility bill data after a resident links their utility account. This data feeds into Glow Energy’s software for precise consumption forecasting across all participating units in a building, and thus, precise allocation of solar energy value.
With Glow Energy, a shared solar program is calibrated from the start for fair allocation of energy saving benefits amongst residents, along with optimized to produce maximum revenue.
3. Supports discounted rate plans
Property owners should consider equity and access for residents when choosing a solar billing solution provider. California’s largest Investor-Owned Utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, has 1.4 million customers enrolled in discounted rate plans, such as CARE and FERA. If an owner “takes over” a resident utility account to administer solar billing, the resident loses access to their discounted utility rate plan.
Glow Energy’s solar billing solution allows participating residents to maintain their discounted utility rate plan and benefit from on-site solar.
4. Allows for participation in Demand Response programs
Adding on-site solar isn’t the only tool available to use energy to create value for building owners and residents. Demand Response programs use pricing signals to allow utility customers to get paid for saving energy when the grid is stressed. Examples include turning off lights or turning down air conditioning, or shifting intensive energy use, such as EV charging, from evening to mid-day when renewable energy is most abundant.
Glow Energy’s software allows building residents to participate directly in a Demand Response program, offering the opportunity to save even more on energy bills and live more sustainably. Demand Response programs are also an excellent tool for reducing building-wide energy emissions to help property owners hit their sustainability goals.
5. Consolidated billing & payments
As highlighted above, the CPUC finds that if the tenant gives up their separately metered account for bill consolidation under the property owner, the customer is not in compliance with the VNEM tariff. To maintain compliance, a resident must maintain a direct account relationship with the utility.
This means that the integrated payments feature of most property management software is only useful for collecting solar charges, leaving the resident to pay their utility charges separately. This is far from an ideal customer experience and introduces unnecessary complexity for participating residents.
Glow Energy’s software solves this by:
1. Creating a unified utility + solar bill for each billing period
2. Collecting a single payment that covers both utility & solar charges
3. Remitting payment on a resident’s behalf to both the solar system owner, as well as the utility
For convenience, Glow Energy offers residents multiple online and offline payment options. For property managers, billing & payment data can still be linked to property management software to streamline bookkeeping. Glow Energy’s payments approach is fully compliant with money transmission laws which is not always the case when payments are made through property management software.
Multifamily operators have a lot to consider when choosing a solar billing software partner. Glow Energy has thoughtfully architected a solution that ensures compliance, maximizes revenue, and provides the best experience for building residents and property managers.
Want to learn more about offering a solar program at your multifamily property? Click here to speak with us and see a product demo.
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