Power giant NRG Energy is looking to take cues from the world’s largest consumer tech brands — Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon — when it comes to how to provide energy services for customers. In a letter written by NRG Energy CEO David Crane to company shareholders this week, Crane says NRG is doing everything in its power to swiftly move toward empowering and connecting consumers, and enabling them to make energy choices, similar to the way that these big four Internet companies are doing outside of energy.
A big part of NRG Energy’s plan to empower consumers with energy services will be to grow its residential solar offering. Currently the company offers a home solar lease plan, but it took them awhile to work out the kinks for the product. Crane told me in an interview this week that “residential solar is at the vortex of what our company is trying to do,” though acknowledged to date the company has mostly stayed out of the market in recent years.
Over the next 18 months NRG wants to build its residential solar business, as well as grow a product offerings around other consumer energy products like home automation systems, and home security. Eventually NRG Energy would like to be as big or bigger than SolarCity when it comes to the residential solar market, says Crane.
NRG Energy’s new distributed solar innovation group Station A, based in San Francisco, will play a role in helping NRG Energy innovate around distributed solar services, particularly when it comes to software, user interfaces and microgrids. NRG isn’t talking much about Station A at this point, but plans to in the coming months.
Right now NRG Energy is still building the pieces of this branded energy consumer experience, but in the next year and a half NRG plans to integrate those pieces into a seamless offering.