Solar veteran Nigel Morris has joined Solar Analytics in the newly created role of business development director to assist with the release of a range of new features coming onto the market in 2017.
Solar Analytics is Australia’s largest independent solar monitoring company, and collects, analyses and diagnoses solar and energy data for residential solar customers using software and in-house solar expertise.
Mr Morris, the former chief executive officer of RoofJuice Australia, said the sluggish progress of utilities in providing residential customers with useful data had created a unique opportunity for companies like Solar Analytics.
“What we’ve seen in metering in Australia has been traditionally at the utility level and has really been a debacle, particularly in NSW,” he said. “The rules, regulations and roll-out of intelligent metering is really all over the shop.”
Solar Analytics was formed to provide credible solar data as well as discover and interpret meaningful patterns in this data to communicate to its customers.
“What we’ve quickly realised is that the utilities are so slow to move in this space that we can actually work alongside utility metering and provide a whole lot more data that the utilities can do or seem to be able to do and willing to do, and we can do that cost effectively and quickly,” Mr Morris said.
“What we’re finding is that while the utilities mess around, consumers and solar installers and the energy efficiency people are coming to us in droves saying, ‘Look, we are sick of waiting and we just want this great data and we want it accessible fast – can you help us?”
As a result, the outlook for the sector is “pretty good”.
Solar Analytics has 30 staff and is growing, with steady recruitment particularly in operations and software development. All staff members are shareholders and there’s a mix of institutional and private investors.
The company now monitors 12,000 sites across Australia.
“That actually gives us one of the biggest fleets – in fact the biggest fleet – of solar and load-monitored sites in the country,” Mr Morris said. “Bigger than utilities and bigger than all the inverter guys, because we monitor so much.”
Usually a company would monitor either solar or energy consumption.
“We monitor both and we are very, very unique in having that data or that insight into the market,” he said.
The company has expanded to New Zealand and has also opened an office in California. It works closely with the Collaborative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living at UNSW to continue developing the next generation of solar technology.
“Part of the reason that I was brought in is because there is a heap of new features that we plan to release this year and so I’m helping to liaise between the sales and marketing and product development teams to bring that to the market.”