Thursday, April 22, 2010

What (Other) Kind of Business Could I Build Around Energy Dashboards?

In my last post, I came up with a bad model for an energy dashboard business based on annuities paid by the utilities companies for energy saved. However, there did seem to be a bright spot for selling the dashboards to the utilities to install themselves. Looking at that a little more closely...

According to the US Energy Information Administration, CA electric utilities generated ~11.1M metric tons of CO2 in 2008. The three year average (2006-2008) was ~10.2M metric tons.
Using the same number of customers in CA and 10% savings factor as assumed before, implementing energy dashboards would save ~ 1.1M tons of CO2. Spread across the ~12.9M customers in CA at the current price for carbon (~$19/ton CO2e), that is about $1.68/customer.

If you add that to the ~$35.6/customer savings in direct generation costs, that is ~$37/customer*yr.
So if a utility is willing to accept a 3 year pay back period, then each installation could cost up to ~$111, for a TAM of around $1.4B for serving all of CA.
Not too bad as long as you have an alternative revenue stream planned for after the initial sale (e.g. s/w license fees for maintaining the dashboard customer feedback, data aggregation, reporting, etc).

The utilities' ROI increases the more effective the actual energy savings and the less expensive the installation. So to compete here you'd need to prove that your system will create and maintain better energy reduction outcomes per $ of installed equipment. If you could do it all in s/w leveraging customer's existing h/w or without any installed h/w, that would be the best.