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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.

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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."

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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.

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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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Contributed by Locus Energy
December 13, 2013

Distributed solar PV is growing explosively in the United States. Driven by solar PV module price reductions, the rising cost of grid-tied electricity and the growth of innovative financing models, the nation’s solar PV capacity could rise five-fold to 50 gigawatts or more by 2017, with 20 to 30 of that consisting of distributed generation, one of the key solar growth drivers, according to a recent report from Deutsche Bank. The report states that solar PV is already at grid parity in 10 U.S. states without additional subsidies.

Locus Energy, whose business is providing hardware and software monitoring solutions for more than 25,000 residential, commercial and utility-scale solar PV systems, has addressed these issues by developing a cloud-based enterprise asset management platform for owners and operators of solar PV fleets called SolarNOC™ (Network Operation Center). SolarNOC™ helps fleet managers streamline O&M and financial administration activities by aggregating, organizing and assessing performance data across a diverse set of solar PV assets.

In addition to SolarNOC™, Locus Energy also offers a proprietary analytics platform called PVIQ Suite™ that provides fleet owners and operators with a much-needed means of evaluating how the actual performance of a solar PV asset ranks against expected performance, and then drills down into the specific causes for a system’s deviation from expectations. This powerful risk-mitigation tool has two main elements: the Virtual Irradiance (VI) tool and the Waterfall analysis.

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Anne Fischer, Reporter, Solar Novus Today
November 23, 2013

PV monitoring systems are software-driven devices that track the performance of a solar energy installation. They vary in terms of what they track and how it’s displayed, but most provide real-time and historical data, performance-based alerts, web-based (or cellular) monitoring and some give details on weather and some let you customize the presentation. For businesses that monitor a fleet of installations, many allow for multi-site tracking and comparisons. Monitoring systems range in capabilities from those that are able to monitor residential (up to 20 kW) and small commercial installations (up to 100 kW) all the way up to utility-scale, multi-megawatt projects. Because the tools are very different from one end of the spectrum to the other, we’ll focus here on the residential to small commercial monitoring systems.

Brehaut said that there are two ways to measure success in this market: number of megawatts or number of systems monitored. The market is split into four distinct segments: residential, small commercial, large commercial and utility-scale; with three vendor categories: independent monitoring firms like DECK Monitoring, Locus Energy, lease providers like SolarCity, SunPower and Sunrun, inverter suppliers like Enphase and SMA. Therefore, there is not one but many leaders. For example Brehaut’s report identified DECK Monitoring as the US leading independent monitoring provider in the small and large commercial segments, while Enphase leads in the residential market. The markets are so stratified with local requirements, cultural differences and financial schemes, that each geographic area has its own leader.

Other advances in PV monitoring will be seen in communication methods and the potential for new or more sophisticated applications. For example, some manufacturers are now offering monitoring systems that communicate over the cellular network rather than over the Internet. This can be more reliable, especially in the event that the Internet connection is lost (or a homeowner unplugs their router). Some, like the LGate smart meters from Locus Energy, offer both cellular and Ethernet connections. It also enables service technicians to get data from a cell phone no matter where they are.

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Chris Martin, Reporter, Bloomberg
November 21, 2013

Andrew Greenfield checks his home’s solar power output against consumption through his computer and mobile phone dozens of times each day. The IBM (IBM) storage engineer enjoys trying to match the power he consumes to heat his pool in Arizona with what he produces during the day from the panels on his roof.

The same rooftop solar providers that are threatening utility revenues are more than just occupying customer roofs—they’re inside the home, monitoring usage trends and adapting the systems to meet both the homeowner’s needs and their own bottom lines.

SolarCity, Sunrun, SunPower (SPWR), and Locus Energy are amassing billions of points of data in smart home systems that consumers love and that baffle utilities, many of which have no incentive to help consumers manage their power usage more efficiently.

“We have an algorithm that tracks the clouds designed by a Ph.D. from Stanford,” says Adrian De Luca, vice president in charge of sales at Hoboken (N.J.)-based Locus Energy, which monitors more than 25,000 solar systems in the U.S. and Canada. “We can tell from across the country whether performance isn’t up to specifications for whatever reasons,” De Luca says. “The utilities should want this data.”

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