Beating Commercial Solar Customers' Savings Expectations with Artificial Intelligence
Updated: Jun 9, 2021
This is a transcript of the webinar presented by John Powers of Extensible Energy and Barrett Silver of Silver Lining Solar on April 27, 2021. The full video recording is below:
John Powers 0:02
Well, all right, to respect everyone's schedule, we will get started. I am John Powers with Extensible Energy and with me today is Barrett Silver, who will introduce himself in a minute, from Silver Lining Solar. And we're going to talk today about beating commercial solar customers' savings expectations with artificial intelligence software. So if that's the webinar, you all wanted to hear, you're in the right place. We will take no more than 30 or 35 minutes of the agenda, we're counting on you to ask good questions for the rest. So please, as we're speaking, save your questions and put them in the Q&A box. We are recording this so that you can share it with any of your colleagues who missed the wonderful opportunity to see the webinar live. So with that, I think we will get ourselves underway. So as I said, I'm John Powers with Extensible Energy. Barrett, why don't you introduce yourself to the team.
Barrett Silver 1:45
Thanks very much, John. I'm Barrett Silver. And I founded Silver Lining Solar back in 2015. And we focus exclusively on commercial solar energy and energy storage systems here in the New York metro area. So that means that we design, finance, install, and maintain commercial solar energy.
John Powers 2:13
And Barrett is our first DemandEx partner in the New York area. So welcome. We're going to talk today about everybody's favorite thing-- we're going to maximize the savings of solar installations by going beyond solar alone, because solar, as we know, saves only on part of the customer's electricity bill. And when you're able to save on the whole bill, you have happier customers and happier CFOs making the financial part of the solar decision. So we're going to talk both about the nitty-gritty of how to get those savings, but we'll also spend a little bit of time on some trends in the industry. So, we are-- as you know if you've been to any of our earlier webinars or if you've worked with Barrett-- we are all about the commercial solar ecosystem here. We are trying to help out our partners, and anybody else who's driving the commercial sector, because the commercial sector has frankly, lagged behind both residential and utility-scale, yet, we think it has great potential in the next coming decade to be a growth spot for the solar industry. So please reach out to us after the webinar, and tell us what we can do with you and for you to make the commercial sector more vibrant. I'll let Barrett tell you a little bit more about Silver Lining Solar. So take it away, Barrett.
Barrett Silver 3:51
Thanks very much, John. So, as I mentioned a second ago, we focus exclusively on commercial solar energy here in the New York metro area. And we were very fortunate at the beginning of our launch in finding commercial customers that were religious schools. And it seemed like we were just going to be rolling down that track, you know, without any interruption. And when we started opening up the scope of things to other types of clients, we realized that one of the big differentiators between religious institutions, at least in the ConEd [Consolidated Edison] territory, where we are here, and standard commercial operations is that their electric bills are completely different because religious schools are lumped under the residential and religious rates and commercial operations have what are called EL-9 rates where there are not just the standard kilowatt-hour charges that everyone's familiar with from their residential electric bills. But there are also demand charges that really kind of clobber folks out here, with their high kilowatt rates. And I know that it was painful to realize it at first, but we found out that some folks that had been approached by other vendors had been a little bit, I guess the nice way to say it is gently misled because they were talking about cutting their electric bills down to nothing. And we realized that that just wasn't realistic. Because if you're just playing on the solar side alone, even if you can cut out all of the kilowatt-hour charges, you're really not going to be able to do anything significant on the demand side. So what that meant was that we were going to be leaving a big hole in customers' expectations about what was going to happen to their electric bills, even after they went solar, if we couldn't touch the demand side of that equation. And that's when we started to partner up with Extensible Energy, and realize that there actually is a solution there that, I gotta say, pretty bluntly, I think the industry has been waiting for, you know, for a long time without realizing it, maybe at the beginning.
So it's important that you differentiate yourself. And, you know, Lord knows that there's plenty of solar installers out there. Now, when I started in the industry, it wasn't the case. But thank God, you know, the industry has grown and prospered. And now there's competition. And that's great because I think everything everyone benefits from that. But if you're just a "me too", and you're offering the same thing that everyone else is offering, I guess you're really not adding a lot of value to the process. And in order to do that, you really have to focus on where your strengths are. And our strengths are really being the local provider that's focused exclusively on the commercial market. So we're not distracted by chasing after residential customers. You know, we're not inundated with all of those projects all the time. And we can really act more like a trusted boutique vendor, who understands the specific needs of our clients, and tailors our solutions so that they meet the goals of the clients that we're working with. And that means not just customizing the solar design itself, but customizing the entire solution. And the entire solution includes not just the equipment that you're maybe putting on the roof or doing the carport over the parking lot, or the ground mount or whatever it is, but also customizing the finance part of the puzzle because that's always an important piece of it, and the product offerings themselves. And that's really where Extensible Energy's DemandEx product really fills the niche that I think has been waiting to be filled.
John Powers 8:42
So as Barrett said, demand charges can be up to half of a commercial customer's on-peak electricity bill, you and I pay for kilowatt-hours on our houses at home, but an office, retail, church, school conditioned warehouse, any of those places might have up to half of their bill, all on the demand charge, which solar probably can't do very much about. This is not a New York problem. This is a national problem. I have a slide here that shows some of the tariffs from Southern California Edison where we've done some work. And you actually have a couple of choices there. You can actually go if you're on the GS-3 rate, the General Services 3 rate for medium commercial customers, you can pick from the D rate or the E rate. The D rate gives you a demand charge of at least a minimum of $27 and actually adds in 12 more dollars on top of that. So this is your "on-peak demand charge" and this is just the maximum non-coincident demand charge. If those happen together, that's a $38 per kW demand charge. Well, of course, you can also opt for the E rate, in which case, you get a lower demand charge than some of these, it's only about $12 per kW, which is still not nothing. But then you're stuck with a very high on-peak energy rate of 42.7 cents per kilowatt-hour during the summer, on-peak period. Well, peak period is from 4 pm to 9 pm in California right after the solar has stopped its maximum production, continuing right into after the sun has gone down. So you can either have your customers pay very high energy charges after the solar stops producing, or you can have them pay very, very high demand charges. So this is where utilities are headed. We have all succeeded here in the solar industry in driving the cost down in the middle of the day, however, their costs have still gone way up and prices have gone way up outside of the period where solar produces the most.
I can illustrate that a little better with an actual building. So this building, a real building in Southern California, produces like mad. So you can see the blue area indicates it's producing and selling back to the grid when the sun is up, but it stays open after the sun goes down. So it sets a peak every evening, in that expensive 4 pm to 9 pm peak period. And then it sets the biggest peak of the month-- and of course, demand charges are based on the highest 15 minutes of usage during the entire month. Well, just think about that for a minute: your building is getting charged half its bill for the worst mistake it makes all month long. And even with solar, that mistake can be pretty bad, but it may not be so. You can shift a little bit of energy from the on-peak period to the solar production period, and lower the maximum demand considerably. And that saves thousands of dollars a month in the most aggressively priced utility service territories. And again, I want to stress these are not just New York problems. These are not just California problems. All over the country, utilities have been charging demand charges for a long time and have been raising those demand charges. Isn't that what you've seen Barrett, you've seen these prices going up over time?
Barrett Silver 12:22
Yeah, it's been pretty dramatic, actually. And you know, I tell folks that we kind of look to California, as you know, "Postcards from the future", because what's been happening in the market there is really just a harbinger of what's going to come here next. And you know, at first, it started with just solar itself. And then we got into the net metering world. And then we saw, okay, solar and storage. And all of those trends have directly followed here. And sure enough demand charges are really starting to get dramatically increased, certainly in ConEd territory where we're located.
John Powers 13:01
And so our solution to that problem is called DemandEx. We've talked about it a couple of times already, but I'll just take a minute to describe the DemandEx software solution. This is software, no batteries required. So we teach buildings to learn from the past, predict the future for better control in the present. That's easy to say hard to do. But it results in basically using the thermal mass of the building to behave as a virtual battery. You can shift energy from those expensive times into cheaper times just by controlling the flexible loads in the building that could be a stationary battery in most buildings. It's not. It could be car chargers behind the meter, those are coming, but they're not in most buildings today. So we can control either of these. But what we control most of the time is heating and cooling. HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) loads are the biggest flexible loads in most commercial buildings. And nobody cares when the compressors run, they only care that it's comfortable inside. And that turns out to be a lot of energy that can be shifted away from the most expensive periods of the day. This allows you to address demand charge and TOU (time of use) rates in a way that solar alone can't do. This may sound like a battery and it is like a battery. Right? But at 1/10 of the cost. Nowhere near the installation costs, no hardware or labor costs. It's priced on a shared savings basis rather than as a big fixed asset. No permit required, one day installation, and instead of performance degradation-- I've heard batteries referred to as a 12-year asset with a 10 year lifetime--it may get better over time.
Software learns more about the building as time goes on and delivers bigger, not smaller, savings over the life of the project. We put one little gateway into the building to talk to all the flexible loads instead of giant racks of batteries that need to find a place in the building. And when I say $1,000 per kilowatt-hour, everybody gets mad because they all read Bloomberg and, and what used to be Greentech Media. And they all know from press releases that batteries cost $150 per kilowatt-hour or whatever it is. But we're not making master electricians any cheaper. And we're not making permitting any easier. And we're not making fire suppression any less necessary. And we're not making space in the building more available. All these things, take that $150 per kilowatt-hour battery and turn it into $1000 and up installed. And we see these quotes all the time. And it's what's being experienced in small to medium commercial buildings all the time. So happy to control batteries if there's a battery already there. But if what you're trying to do is save on demand charges, there is a flyswatter and strip instead of a sledgehammer here. You should use the right tool for the problem that you have. So as Barrett was saying, you have to think a little differently to bring these solutions to market. Right? We're looking at folks who are more total energy solution providers rather than panel salespeople.
So if you're willing to do the work-- and Barrett has done a terrific job of taking apart customers tariff choices, and looking at what the best tariff for their customer is, and so forth-- and if you focus on how the customer is using energy, you can configure your technology and configure your total solution in a way that is better than anybody who's engaged in that race to the bottom. Anybody who's just selling on a couple cents per watt less is never going to save as much as a properly configured full solution for the end customer. So I'll do a really quick example from a California church that we worked on last summer and the customer. This is a church in Bakersfield, California. For those of you who don't know, that's in the Central Valley of California and it gets very hot there. 110 degrees is not uncommon. And so this is not by any means a rich customer; this is a church in a disadvantaged area of Bakersfield, very price sensitive. Batteries were just far out of their price range. And like a lot of churches, they only have a couple of serious peaks during the week, they have a Sunday service, which is during the day. And so the solar helps with that. But they also have a Wednesday evening service that is almost entirely after the sun has gone down. So we put in new thermostats and our IOT gateway in the building. And we now are able to send signals down to the building to shift the cooling load into periods when the solar is abundant, reducing their peak by over 50 KW, which is a tremendous savings for a church like this that is, on their rate, $1,000 a month. $1,000 a month in savings is a huge benefit to many customers. And this one in particular.
The way to think about it from our partners' perspective, and we work with a partner of course on this project as well, is that you're taking their utility bill and reducing it with PV and reducing it further with DemandEx. So any anywhere demand charges are above $8, you'll find that the payback time is guaranteed to be lower with solar plus DemandEx than it is with solar alone. I'll just let you read the quote from Jigar [See quote below]. Jigar's always got good insights. We refer to this software as load flexibility software. That's what our DemandEx product does. It flexes the flexible loads in buildings to maximize total utility bill savings. And load flexibility is a big deal.
Jigar Shah's quote: "Load flexibility is the giant issue nobody is talking about. It's less expensive than batteries and discussed often as "another" means of matching solar resources with a building's loads. Extensible Energy's load-flexibility software is a win-win for the solar contractor and the building owner. Building owners get a higher ROI and faster payback time, and the solar contractor can offer an easy-install demand charge solution with or without batteries." Jigar Shah is the co-founder at Generate Capital Inc.
So load flexibility is where the industry is headed. You have to work on both sides of the meter in order to deliver maximum value for your customer. I'll just wrap up by saying the reason we like working with folks like Barrett is we are a 100% partner-driven business. We don't go direct to customers, we only work through our solar installation partners. So by having a "better together" model--where solar plus load flexibility always drives a higher return on investment, lower payback time-- we're trying to help out the industry and bring solar to places where it was not economic before. With that, I'm just going to pause and take questions. Barrett, do you have any closing comments, or you want to ask me anything?
Barrett Silver 20:41
Well, I think you really explain the benefits of DemandEx with solar really well. I think that one of the things that we kind of should have explained from the beginning is that, really, the whole process of selling solar is about setting expectations and doing it accurately. And for a lot of folks that haven't really looked into solar deeply or haven't gotten years and years of experience working with it, they don't really know what to expect, and they've heard from maybe their neighbors on the residential side, oh, that I eliminated my monthly bill. And then I got a bill of, you know, $3 last month, and they extrapolate. And they think that that's going to be the case, with their commercial building as well. And then their solar installer, you know, maybe is a little sheepish about it, and doesn't want to explain to them that, "Oh, by the way, maybe you might get a lower demand charge every once in a while, but you should still expect to be stuck with half your bill." And then that's where the disappointment with commercial solar comes from.
John Powers 21:50
And it's unrealistic to expect people to, you know, people who own buildings or own businesses in buildings, they're busy, they're working on way more than just understanding the tariff structure that ConEd has thrown at them, you know, so they may not even know that half their bill is based on the worst mistake their building makes every month. So really, a lot of the folks we work with are having to be more energy advisors than just explaining what the best kind of panel is, or what the best kind of inverter is, you have to also get in and say, "Where do the savings really come from?"
So we do have a couple of questions here coming in, of course, one is "Can we get a copy of the presentation?" Yes, we can provide copies of the presentation. But we'll also have a recorded version of this live webinar up and ready for you to pass along to your colleagues. I see a question about, "Can you share the process for modeling the savings? Is interval data required?" I have an answer, but I'll let Barrett go first on this. How do you model these things?
Barrett Silver 23:04
So there's kind of two ways to get at that answer. One way is if you don't have interval data, you can get most of the way there by understanding the type of the building and looking at the demand charges just based on the electric bills. But I would say that it's always preferable to have the interval data. It's always preferable to have the interval data, because that's going to give you much better insight into how the buildings actually operated, and what the reasonable expectations can be for being able to control those loads.
John Powers 23:44
Absolutely, yes. So we frequently do quotes for our product without interval data, because in some places, it's not available. But wherever it's available, we recommend and again, I'll give a shout-out to another member of the solar community, we use Utility API to gather 15-minute interval data. And then we have it within a few minutes, as opposed to waiting for the utility to take weeks to provide something that takes formal requests to get out. So we're, we're really big fans of interval data and hence of Utility API. If there is no interval data available, that's okay. We can come up with a good estimate based on the demand charges on bills and on an aerial photograph of the building to get a good grip on what the types of equipment are at the site and so forth. Once we start doing control, we need not only interval data, we need one-minute data.
So we always ask that a redundant interval meter be placed on the whole building and solar output, so that we can read the data once a minute. So the way our software works, we build a hyperlocal forecast of what the solar output will be, we build a machine learning algorithm of what the whole building load does so we know what it's going to be. So we can forecast what the difference between your production and your consumption is minute by minute by minute because if we don't have that, we can't guarantee we can beat the demand charge for that month. So with that available, we can, even when our forecasts are wrong, we can adjust quickly, and still provide savings in 14 of those 15 minutes. So we can beat any demand charge that utilities have thrown at us so far. So we have other questions here. "Any advice on financing partners willing to back your solutions for commercial clients fixed long term to compete with the monthly outlay for electricity?" That's a great question. Barrett, you've done a lot of work with financing, including combined solar plus DemandEx, haven't you?
Barrett Silver 26:11
Yeah, so I don't know if I want to give away all of our secret sauce here, but I will say this: A lot of the commercial solar energy business comes down to understanding the finance part of the puzzle. And in many cases, that could involve either C-PACE financing, or a power purchase agreement, PPA. We've been able to bundle DemandEx with both types of financing programs in a way that's become, you know, extremely attractive. And this is kind of going to, I think, surprise people, but it becomes even more attractive with the longer that you bundle, the DemandEx with the solar. So the standard offering is to take a five-year swat at this right. But if we found that if you bundle, you know, 10-year or longer DemandEx profile with the solar PPA, for example, you can get much, much greater returns on investment. And it just leverages the whole value of the combination.
John Powers 27:31
So again, the thing to remember in any of these situations is that the savings continue as long as DemandEx is running. So it does no good to model it out for one year, and then say, Oh, we got these great savings, and then discontinue the service, because the savings would stop after one year as well. It's not like solar, it's not a one-time installation. This is cloud-based software that has to keep running all the time in order to deliver on those savings month by month and year by year. So the longer the term of the DemandEx license, the longer the savings continue, which are greater than the costs. So again, that's, you know, not giving away too many secrets to say, you always want to be saving more for your customers. So the specifics of how to find a PPA partner and how to do the PACE financing, I'll leave as Barrett's secrets. But that is something that we're seeing more and more of our partners taking advantage of. So I have a softball here it says, "Does DemandEx work in every building?" Well, the answer to that is, it works in commercial buildings where there are sufficient flexible loads. So that means the answer to that question is no. It works in many buildings. And the easiest way to think about it today is in buildings that have HVAC as their largest single load.
So, for office, retail, church, school, conditioned warehouse, municipal building, and those kind of things, it works great. If there are other flexible loads, such as a battery or such as a battery of car chargers behind the meter or something like that, it will also work there. We try to stay away from one-off things. This is a product, not a project. So we don't tend to do integration with industrial systems which might be quite large but also might take a lot of project work just to get one site working. So integration with the two kinds of HVAC systems, the ones that do and the ones that don't have an energy management system in the building. We have solutions for both of those. And so we're pretty comfortable with our solution for the types of buildings I just talked about. Anything else? We'll take a look at it, we'll take a shot at it. But that's those are the ones that work best.
I see a question about NEM-3. Oh, here we go in California, "Will your product and service be a solution to deal with AB 1139, and the future of NEM-3.0?" So again, the worse it gets selling back to the grid-- which has been the NEM issue all along with NEM 1.0, 2.0, 3.0-- the better it gets to be shifting energy away from a period when you would have been selling back to the grid. So you know, I'm not going to take a position on any particular piece of legislation because these things come and go. And there's plenty of folks smarter than I am battling the policy side of this, we're just a software vendor here, we can shift energy away from the times when you're selling back to the grid into the times when you're using from the grid. That's good. Okay, we can shift your usage so that you're buying less from the grid, selling less back to the grid.
Barrett Silver 31:40
I just want to add a little point to that, which is that the trick really is staying nimble with respect to whatever the utilities can throw at you. And I think as the market becomes more mature, it's reasonable to expect that the utilities are going to be able to rejigger their rates so that they're not going to be clobbered as badly by what solar alone can do. And to the extent that that process continues to evolve, the value of something like DemandEx is only going to increase.
John Powers 32:20
So we have more questions. I love it when the ice breaks and people start firing away here. "How does the DemandEx pricing work for the installer and for the customer?" Pretty simple. When we save the customer $1, we keep 33 cents. And that can be done as a some years in advance prepay (I'm not your tax advisor, consult your tax advisor) so that the ITC can pay for things. Or it can be done more in an annual payment. So for the installer, the installer has the right but not the obligation to mark that up to 50%. Some of our partners, mark it up 50% some market up 0% just use it as a way to increase the savings to the customer so that they close more business, some of it mark it up somewhere in between some of it bundle it in with financing. So you can't really ascribe a specific markup to it. Barrett, you want to add any color on that?
Barrett Silver 33:27
Well, I think that's the right way to describe it. But the right way to really fully understand the cost part of it is that I think the main concern that customers have is, if I'm going to be adding this additional software, what are the risks to me? I mean, that's really what they're concerned with, you know, when am I going to be left holding the bag here. And one of the great things that comes along with DemandEx is that I can say without any hesitation, that my clients are never going to be worse off than they would have been if they hadn't gone along with this DemandEx idea, right? Because that's the guarantee that comes with it, they're never going to be in a worse situation. Even if there are no savings.
John Powers 34:23
That's right. So yeah, we definitely guarantee that we will never cost the customer in utility bill more than we cost in software. We target saving three times as much, as I mentioned. So that's what we've done for our current customers. We provide a guarantee that nothing will ever get worse by adding us to any of these deals. I have a question for Barrett, which is "Aren't you cannibalizing your own battery sales by selling DemandEx instead?"
Barrett Silver 34:57
I guess there's a sense, a selfish sense, in which the answer could be yes. Because it's a complicated thing, right? There's three reasons to consider combining solar with battery storage. One is for resilience. Another one is for demand reduction. And the third one is if they're sophisticated and they want to try and do energy arbitrage, rate arbitrage. I would say that, from the resilience perspective of it, DemandEx really isn't a competitor to batteries, right. So in most cases, the biggest competitor to batteries there is the big diesel generator. And that's always or at least so far has, has been more cost competitive than lithium-ion batteries, in terms of just getting to the point where backup is the only goal.
When it comes to demand reduction, when you're comparing DemandEx, and batteries, there's a sense in which they both can play on that field. But as John already said, and there's no real, arguing it, DemandEx is always going to be less expensive. So in that sense, if we're cannibalizing our sales, it's to the benefit of our clients, right, because we can get them to their goals with a less expensive solution. So I'm happy to do that. And I'll do that, you know, every day and three times on Sunday, because that's what's going to make for happy clients and good relationships and referrals and more business. And when it comes to our energy arbitrage, I think it's still a pretty heavy lift on the battery side, and probably an easy win for DemandEx. Now, having said all that, I still think there's a tiny place where all three solutions can play nicely together, solar DemandEx and batteries. And we're happy to combine those three together, where it makes sense.
John Powers 37:16
I don't think I could have said it any better. I think that there's definitely a role for batteries in the resilience space, if you want a fully clean, integrated solution. If you want to be done with diesel gensets, and lots of people do, I think that, you know, having battery backup to a solar array can keep you running when solar alone could not. And we're actually working on a project like that we completed it in Colorado more than a year ago, where we did the control of both the battery and the HVAC systems for the customer. And the result was they didn't have to do a lot of the expensive work that would otherwise be required with critical loads panel or other things that are often required to keep the battery down to an affordable size for backup, because we can, of course, operate the building differently when it's off-grid than when it's on grid. So you don't have to size the battery and size the other components. This is you know, sort of sometimes called a microgrid or sometimes just called backup power, the solution can be properly sized rather than oversized because you have no control of the loads. getting control of the loads brings the economics of resiliency, you know, into a much more affordable place for lots of different types of customers. We'll probably do a webinar on microgrids one of these days because there's just becoming so much demand in that space. But you're right, you know for simple demand charge management that the battery is wildly overpriced and under-capable.
So I see a question I think for me about how about gas stations and car washes, oh boy, we'll take a swat at it for sure. We require some kind of load that can be controlled. So if all of or the great preponderance of the energy is going to business-critical stuff that can't be shifted around, then we can't do much of anything. But especially in the case of any kind of electric water heat, we can probably make a big impact, and we'd be happy to take a look. I'm just gonna go out there and say it, we've never done one, but we'd love to take a look.
So I see one that says, "Can you help us create a proposal analysis with solar storage and DemandEx?" Yes, we can. I will take that one offline, Ken. I'm email@example.com, hit me up anytime and we can walk you through how we think about that analysis.
I see one about "Can we integrate with the monitoring software, perhaps from folks that are already doing solar monitoring?" We can, but we need one-minute data at once a minute. So if the solar monitoring folks get a little less late 90's and create an API for something that lets you get one-minute data once a minute, then yes, we can integrate with that. Otherwise, we need our own redundant meter.
So, "What size commercial building largest to smallest kWh for usage work for this product?" We think of it in terms of money. It's basically you want to have demand charges of $20,000 a year or more. And that's sort of the threshold, more is better. And that usually results in something like a sweet spot from 100 kilowatts to a megawatt of solar. We've done slightly smaller and slightly larger. But that's sort of the most likely sweet spot for what we've done so far.
I see "Does DemandEx work without solar for energy efficiency purposes?" Absolutely. Yeah, there's nothing about this software that requires solar, it just works better with solar, because solar is already taken care of a huge percentage of the total usage over the course of the day. So you can shift more energy into a solar rich period. But you can certainly flatten out the load of demand charge heavy buildings with DemandEx. And you can also tune it to be more for energy savings rather than demand savings. So software is great. You can use it for a number of different things. Nothing requires solar, but by far the greater savings come from solar and DemandEx together. I think that's all the questions we have so far. So we have a few minutes left. So if anybody has more questions, please put them in here. Otherwise, we'll do a couple of closing comments. And you can have a few minutes of your day back.
Barrett Silver 43:23
I saw a question here about combining DemandEx with a solar PPA. So I think it's kind of like what I was touching on a moment ago. But the basic kernel of the idea is that if the PPA extends for 15 or 20 years, the relative cost of adding DemandEx, especially compared with the added savings that it represents is --I'll give you an example-- in some of the cases that we're looking at, it's potentially doubling the PPA savings for the for the client. So in those examples, because DemandEx is again, eligible for the ITC, (and I'm not your tax advisor, because like John said, you want to consult the professionals there), but because DemandEx goes hand in hand with the solar installation, and works along with it, the eligibility for the ITC if it can be bundled into the installation at the outset, it just really it leverages everything. It enhances the affordability at the outset and increases the savings throughout the term of the project.
John Powers 44:56
Yeah, it's definitely the case that the upfront cost of DemandEx, even if you're putting multiple years into that upfront cost is much lower, is a very small percentage of the total package that you're presenting to your customer. So again, the savings can be quite significant, and the costs are low. So like Barrett was saying more of the savings you roll up into the original proposal to the customer, the better it's all going to look. I don't see any more questions, so I'm going to say, thank you very much to Barrett Silver, who's been very insightful about how all of this is working for him as a partner. And I'm going to thank our amazing, amazing audience who really put the questions out there and, and held our feet to the fire to explain further. So that's terrific. And with that, I'll give Barrett the last word.
Barrett Silver 46:06
I just want to thank you, John, for putting this together and for including us with it. And, you know, I'm just gonna say that from the perspective out here in New York, you know, this is a train that's coming at all of us. And it's just, you know, early days for a lot of people realizing that the demand charges are going to be biting them. And whether they're not feeling the nibbles yet, or they're already hip to it, it's coming. So solar alone is not going to be the answer to those problems. Nor I don't think is solar plus storage, going to solve all those problems. So it's, it's great to have another tool in the toolkit, and the ability to get out what's really causing the pain for our clients.
John Powers 46:55
Okay, thanks, everyone. And that concludes our presentation today.