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Breaking Energy Logo
Stephen K Irvin, President, Amicus Solar Cooperative & Adrian De Luca, VP Sales & Marketing, Locus Energy
June 19, 2014

What are the similarities between Ace Hardware and the solar industry? Many more than you might think after the recent announcement that the nation’s only solar purchasing cooperative, Amicus Solar Cooperative, chose Locus Energy as the preferred monitoring provider for its 30 members throughout the country.

As an example, Amicus recently chose Locus Energy, the nation’s largest independent provider of solar monitoring solutions with more than 40,000 systems, as its preferred provider for solar monitoring. The main factors in the decision came from Locus’ performance after a detailed, year-long evaluation that consisted of in-depth research into key performance categories, including reliability and ease of use, troubleshooting and analytics capabilities, product options and warranties, quality of technical support and even future platform capabilities. This type of survey would not have been possible for each individual EPC to conduct on its own, and the feedback on experience that a number of Amicus EPC’s had working with Locus would have been nonexistent. Under this preferred vendor agreement, Amicus’ members were able to secure industry-competitive pricing on solar monitoring hardware and management software without having to research and negotiate these products individually.

Alt Energy Mag Logo
Adrian De Luca, VP Sales & Marketing, Locus Energy
June 17, 2014

The growth of distributed PV is showing no signs of slowing down, and with it solar monitoring is set to grow as well.

Locus Energy is a distributed energy asset monitoring and data analytics platform provider currently focused on distributed solar PV. Our monitoring and analytics platform aggregates and organizes large amounts of real-time performance data from multiple sources, making it easier for PV fleet managers and installers to access and manage their systems. Concurrently, Locus’ PVIQ data analytics platform has the unique ability to remotely identify the specific causes for a solar system’s failure to meet performance expectations. These advanced monitoring and analytics tools allow solar fleet managers to provide the most efficient O&M services to customers. This ultimately leads to increased productivity and lower costs.

Solar Industry Magazine Logo
Michael Puttre, Reporter, Solar Industry Magazine
June 06, 2014

The solar inverter is the workhorse of a photovoltaic array. Although often evaluated in terms of constraints in system design, string size, and points of failure, the inverter has evolved into a gateway to the operations and health of the solar PV plant. It provides information about and access to the facility to an ever-expanding circle of stakeholders.

Adrian de Luca, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Locus Energy, says analyzing the vast qualities of data supplied by inverters and module-level electronics from PV plants is the key to being able to use it effectively for O&M and asset management. “Software companies can add value in distributed PV by not just collecting data, but really crunching the numbers,” de Luca says.

Moreover, de Luca says, plant performance data needs to be cross-referenced with environmental and solar irradiance data in order to pinpoint specific loss factors. Waterfall analysis, using a range of algorithms and empirical models, can remotely determine the root causes of a solar PV system’s performance shortfalls. These reasons may include factors such as weather uncertainty, snow downtime, shading, equipment downtime, equipment degradation and inverter problems.

TGE INK logo
Hannah Schroer, Reporter, TGE INK
May 28, 2014

Locus Energy is on a mission to help the distributed solar market by letting stakeholders know what is happening with their photovoltaic system and why.

Financial stakeholders need performance data in order to be comfortable investing in projects not backed by one large company. In 2007, Michael Herzig, President and Founder of Locus Energy, saw the need for more reliable metrics so that investors and owners could measure the return on their investments.

Locus Energy believes that they are on the forefront of a wave that is changing power distribution. “There’s so much more that can be done,” Mr. De Luca concluded.

All Analytics Logo
Michael Steinhart, Executive Editor, All Analytics
May 22, 2014

Solar panels are a smart option for collecting plentiful and pollution-free power, but myriad issues could impede optimal absorption. Analytics helps reduce these operational challenges and improve efficiency for providers.

According to Adrian De Luca, vice president of sales and marketing at Locus Energy, data collected by monitors on photovoltaic (PV) arrays is being mined in innovative ways to reveal not just the what and when of performance incidents, but the why.

In an interview today, De Luca told me Locus provides asset monitoring via hardware and software tools, enabling stakeholders to track their equipment via Web portals. It also centralizes data from some 35,000 sites in North America, he says, to provide value-add analytics. "You can compare a data point to an expected value, and that tells you whether you're on target or underperforming. But you need to know why the system did or didn't meet the goal. Analytics layers in more context to the data."

SolarEnergy.net Logo
Kristine Wong, Reporter, SolarEnergy.net
May 06, 2014

As the solar industry continues its march toward greater consolidation, small companies are looking for any advantage they can get over the big guys.

It hadn’t inked a deal with a monitoring company until just a few weeks ago, when Amicus announced that New Jersey-based Locus Energy would be its preferred vendor of solar monitoring hardware, software and solar data analytics.

Locus offers hardware and software that supports cloud-based monitoring of PV systems. By observing how systems are performing via variables such as the amount of energy produced, how much sunlight is hitting the panels, ambient temperature, wind speed and data coming from the system’s transformers, Locus can let clients know when a system is underperforming, says Adrian De Luca, vice president of sales and marketing. Grid operators can also use the service, he says, to determine how distributed energy is interacting with the grid in areas that are located at a distance from their furthest substation.

The Locus partnership will lower direct costs for Amicus customers via preferential pricing, Irvin says, though he could not give exact figures. Just as important, notes De Luca, is the indirect savings generated through analyzing the monitoring data of every PV system in one’s portfolio.

Solar Power World
Steven Bushong, Reporter, Solar Power World
April 23, 2014

In this Solar Speaks podcast, join the president of the first and only solar purchasing cooperative in the U.S., Amicus, and the head of marketing at solar monitoring and analytics firm Locus Energy in a discussion about the organizations’ new partnership.

Amicus is the first group to bring the Ace Hardware cooperative model to solar. The cooperative lets EPCs and solar integrators operate their businesses independently, while combining their buying power to secure competitive pricing for racking, panels or, as discussed in this podcast, solar monitoring.

Crain's New York Business
Judith Messina, Reporter, Crain's New York Business
April 22, 2014

Years ago, when Deirdre Lord told people at cocktail parties she was in the energy business, they would look at her vacantly and sidle to the other side of the room. No more. Now they want to hear what she has to say.

Others, such as Locus Energy, are using big data to drive greater energy efficiency. Locus monitors solar installations to help owners maintain and get maximum performance from them. From 1,500 installations three years ago, Locus is up to 35,000 today. In the future, Locus plans to use the millions of pieces of data it collects every hour to help system owners and managers make forecasts, manage risk and drive down costs.

"Solar naturally fluctuates every second, and enabling customers to assess that fluctuation through advanced algorithms and leverage an engineer's capabilities is a huge advantage," said Michael Herzig, Locus' founder and chief executive.

Scarce talent and money are also hurdles. Enertiv last year feared it might lose a key engineer, a foreigner who needed a hard-to-get H-1B visa. Locus Energy has most of its engineering staff on the West Coast, where it believes there's a deeper pool of engineering talent.

PV Tech
Mark Osborne, Reporter, PV Tech
January 28, 2014

Locus Energy has introduced its next-generation of smart meters designed to allow solar installers and asset managers to more easily collect, monitor and analyse performance data from both residential and light commercial solar PV systems. The LGate 120 and 320 are the first cellular smart meters designed specifically to measure the performance of PV installations.

Breaking Energy Logo
Jared Anderson, Reporter, Breaking Energy
January 10, 2014

The U.S. solar industry experienced a transformative 2013, with a proliferation of physical assets, installed capacity and new finance mechanisms. The wind industry raced to begin projects by end-2013 in order to receive production tax credits. The next few years -- and 2014 in particular -- will be marked by new advancements in these sectors as rooftop and utility-scale solar continue to mature, utilities grapple with changing business models and investors continue the search for opportunities that offer the greatest yield.

“The word on the street is another big [solar] securitization -- twelve or more in the next year -- could be expected. These would be SolarCity-type deals and a number of yield cos,” according to John Lochner, Vice President of Corporate Development for Locus Energy.

“The market right now believes ITC will remain intact at 30 percent for 2014 then go down to 10 percent in 2017,” said Dan Loflin, Locus Energy’s Executive Vice President of Business Development. “The market sees solar government tax benefits as pretty static. The differences come with state and local rebates added on top of the ITC. Take New Jersey, for example. The expectation is local subsidies on top of the ITC will diminish, and as that happens, other costs like installation will come down. As the market moves forward, physical costs should continue coming down significantly, and that makes up for reduced subsidies,” said Loflin.

Locus Energy sees the conversation shifting slowly away from tax equity and into new investment strategies. How many new deals can the market expect to see, and how will the structure of these deals differ from what’s been done in the past? “A lot of the discussion around residential and commercial solar activity had been about whether tax equity deals would diminish and whether loans [would] come into the market. The number and structure of new SolarCity-type deals and what they look like is the question,” said Lochner.

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