Extensible Energy has released DemandEx, an inexpensive “virtual battery” designed to reduce demand charges and increase ROI for commercial solar projects.

The Software as a Service (SaaS) solution is easily integrated into new or existing commercial solar systems and can be used to decrease the cost and size of energy storage.

DemandEx uses proprietary AI algorithms to analyze real-time solar production, weather data, utility rates and building usage patterns. It then dynamically controls the building’s flexible loads for optimized demand charge and time-of-use savings. After a one-day installation, the software automatically anticipates and prevents peak demand spikes, delivering 30% savings on the demand charge portion of the utility bill, says Extensible Energy.

“The commercial solar market has shown slow growth in recent years – in part because solar is great at saving energy but not on demand charges,” says John Powers, CEO of Extensible Energy. “One cloud can ruin your whole month. That’s why we created DemandEx – to help solar developers deliver much higher total savings on a commercial customer’s utility bill. We can control the flexible loads of the building to match the output of the solar installation, all without expensive new hardware or bespoke engineering.”

DemandEx works best with existing or new solar installations in non-residential buildings. Building owners can achieve higher solar ROI and a reduced payback period without the extra expense, permitting and fire mitigation requirements of energy storage solutions, the company explains.

Extensible Energy initially developed DemandEx with the U.S. Department of Energy and has piloted the software with commercial solar projects in Colorado and California. To date, customers have achieved their projected demand charge savings of 20%-35% at a fraction of the cost of battery-based demand charge solutions.

Solar plus DemandEx can achieve demand charge savings with or without batteries, the company notes. Battery storage can be added for backup power and resiliency.

“DemandEx is just the beginning,” adds Powers. “We’re now creating a suite of solar software solutions that will help solar contractors to shift from selling solar to selling complete energy solutions that make commercial solar sales more cost-effective with or without batteries.”

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