Genability recently announced an initiative that will put solar savings data in the hands of customers and players in the solar energy market. The data will be distributed via an API as well as a website that Genability will develop to highlight savings associated with solar use. Developed in conjunction with the Department of Energy and its SunShot initiative, Genability's Open Solar Savings Initiative seeks to use this data to help make solar energy more affordable.
Genability is an energy data firm that enables new energy companies such as solar developers and EV manufacturers to integrate smart energy solutions into their products and services. CEO Jason Riley stated when announcing the initiative:
"The goal of Open Solar Savings is to provide the data that homeowners, solar educators, installers, developers and financiers need to help drive down these costs and contribute to the SunShot goal of $1/W(watt) by 2020."
Speaking at the Energy Datapalooza event in Washington D.C. last month, Riley explained that 64% of the costs associated with solar systems are “tied up in soft costs, which are a data-rich opportunity.” Companies participating in the SunShot initiative, like Genability, are working to use data to minimize these soft costs and make solar more competitive. According to Riley, this is key to building a “new, cleaner, smarter renewable energy future.”
APIs becoming crucial to the open data movement
Open data is a hot topic. Cities, states and federal agencies are increasingly opening up their vast troves of data to the public. Spurred by demand and laws mandating open data, some sources of government data, such as the FDA, are building their own platforms to distribute their data, while others are teaming up with entities in the private sector.
Whether through homegrown efforts or partnerships with third parties, however, one of the biggest challenges governments face is making sure that open data is distributed efficiently and effectively so that it can be put to good use. Not surprisingly, instead of simply offering up data for download as Excel spreadsheets or more esoteric formats, APIs like the one Genability will launch are becoming the primary distribution channel for open data sets.
Not only do APIs make it easier for developers to access open data and build useful applications on top of it, they also give governments and their partners the opportunity to monitor who is using the data, how it’s being applied and, most importantly, whether it is actually promoting the outcomes sought.