Article by:
Austin Young
September 27, 2022
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Solar on Multifamily: Virtual Grid Future Proofed For CA Policy

Helping Property Owners with Regulatory Compliance and Resident Savings while Increasing NOI

The residential solar market has exploded for much of the past decade, but very few multifamily buildings have adopted onsite solar systems despite the benefits and potential increased income. Multifamily property owners have invested in solar to cover common area energy usage but rarely to cover residents' energy usage. It is fair to attribute the lack of adoption to the complexities of distributing consumer-friendly benefits to residents and the challenges of interconnecting to the local utility. However, California policy changes, such as the Title 24 new homes solar mandate, are pushing multifamily owners to figure this out.

Fortunately, Ivy Energy has launched a solution, Virtual Grid, to unlock new value for California multifamily property owners and residents. The software solves the many complexities of transacting with residents for solar energy usage. Ivy Energy founder Dover Janis founded the company in 2019 with a background in solar monitoring software and real estate analysis. 

Virtual Grid enables property owners to cost-effectively install an optimum-sized solar asset that can provide equitable and consumer-friendly benefits to the residents who live in those communities. The software calculates accurate real-time energy usage by each tenant and distributes solar value precisely and fairly. Ivy's consumer-friendly billing solution shares the financial and environmental benefits with tenants in an automatic and easy-to-read format. Making it simple and easy for multifamily property owners to adopt and profit from clean energy assets. 

Ivy is Aligned with CA Energy & Environmental Policy Goals:

  • Regulatory Compliance for Property Owners: Ivy is making it easy for multi-family property owners to comply with current and new laws and regulations. Instead of cutting into profit margins or raising housing costs, Ivy gives owners a clear pathway to recover the cost of the shared energy asset. Ivy's policy team is deeply engaged in the regulatory process, educating policymakers and regulators on the benefits of multifamily solar, and defending the multifamily value proposition to make sure shared solar remains a viable and valuable option for all property owners for the foreseeable future.  
  • Futureproofing for Upcoming CA Policy Changes: Virtual Grid adapts to any tariff or utility market signal now and in the future. The framework’s shared ledger accounting features and behavioral algorithm environment helps end users easily access system benefits. While Ivy Energy supports net metering, the platform is not dependent on net metering or any specific monetary value for exported energy. Any future changes in the electricity market or utility rate design can be easily modified and incorporated. Ivy is developing a roadmap to bring the platform to all solar-friendly states across the country.
  • Consumer Protection for Residents: Virtual Grid's smart ledger functionality provides accessible transparency for residents to view and compare their energy usage and actual avoided costs. The consumer-friendly billing feature shows tenants their realized solar energy savings in a transparent and easy-to-read bill. Rather than wading through numerous bills—one from each provider—Ivy's solar billing software is integrated with the local utility and gathers all energy usage data into one report to make solar easy for tenants and owners to understand. Customers have reported high levels of satisfaction with Virtual Grid due to its straightforward messaging and clear articulation of benefits.
  •  Equity in Clean Energy Access: Virtual Grid provides a mechanism for multifamily property owners to share the cost-saving benefits of installing a clean energy system with their residents in an equitable manner, creating a win-win for both owners and residents. The opt-in process for residents is simple and can be done virtually. The billing software paves the way for incentivizing the adoption of clean energy and renters are no longer left out of the clean energy transition. 
  • Grid Stewardship: Ivy Energy's technology disaggregates energy consumption data to determine how each unit uses energy. The data generates each resident’s’ monthly bill, which illustrates how their energy usage compares to solar production and their total savings. This feature incentivizes residents to consume energy during high solar producing hours to maximize on-site usage and minimize the impact of exports on the grid.

California has bold and ambitious climate and clean energy policies. Between SB 100 requiring 100% carbon-free electricity sales by 2045 to the Title 24 New Home Solar Mandate, there are many opportunities for multifamily buildings to participate in the clean energy transition. ESG investments will also continue to develop and mature, signaling a strong market and new opportunities to generate value within multifamily real estate. Shared solar provides a win-win pathway for building owners and managers to comply with regulatory mandates and be leaders in the sustainability movement, with positive impacts to the bottom line. 

As a leader in multifamily solar development, Ivy is here to help owners navigate policy changes and the clean energy transition with ease, generate a positive impact in the communities they serve, and maximize the value of shared solar investments. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your community!