Smart algorithms are the future of the energy industry. Solar installer SolarCity has bought up the assets of home energy efficiency software startup Building Solutions, the companies announced this morning.
Building Solutions, which was one of our Green:Net 2010 launchpad companies, has developed web-based software that enables users to create detailed home energy audit reports. As Building Solutions software developer Neil Buckley explained at Green:Net (to see the demo go to around the 16 minute mark in the video clip below), the company’s web app takes publicly available information, like weather data, and combines it with detailed information that a user inputs about a home — like room size, window placement, etc — to create a model of the energy use in a home. The software then uses that model to create detailed reports full of recommendations for how a home owner can make a home much more energy efficient and save money on their energy bill.
SolarCity will use the home energy software to offer its solar customers home energy audits and plans to marry its solar software with the Building Solutions application. As Matt Golden, co-founder of energy auditing company Recurve, as explained to me before, the solar installation business and the home energy audit market naturally go hand and hand. Customers are commonly interested in both products, and home energy audits are the low hanging fruit in the low carbon world (cheaper, quicker, easier to implement).
Home energy audits are also expected to be a rapidly growing business thanks to both the stimulus package and upcoming legislation. The stimulus package allocated $2 billion to expand tax credits for more energy-efficient appliances and insulation improvements, provided $300 million in matching funds for state rebates on energy efficient appliances and increased government spending on weatherization for low- and middle-income homes (annual income of $32,000 or so for a family of four, depending on the state) to $5 billion, up from the current $500 million per year.
Home Star, legislation that provides incentives for home energy audits (also called Cash For Caulkers), also recently passed the House. As the Forbes blog puts it, the opportunities that the bill will create makes an acquisition like Building Solutions particularly attractive.
For more research on how smart software is the future of the energy industry, check out my article Smart Algorithms: The Future of the Energy Industry in GigaOM Pro (subscription required).
Image courtesy of Building Solutions.