Load management ROI for a solar + storage homeowner

Load management is becoming a necessity as part of a home energy storage system. But what exactly is the return on investment for the customer? On the Pitch, a Solar Builder side project in which we chat with manufacturers about their latest technology, Generac product manager Michael McLaren, joined us to make the pitch for load management in general as well as Generac’s PWRmanager.

Check out the full 10-min conversation above. Below is part of that conversation, discussing the general ROI of load management systems for both installers and customers.

From an installer point of view how does a load management system installation differ from a protected loads panel installation?

McLaren: Although the time to install might be similar with a PWRmanager — you mount it you run wires down from the breaker panel and back out to each of the loads — it’s a very straightforward wiring compared to say figuring out where to put the protected loads panel and figuring out which circuits.

But the really important piece is that moment where you’re sitting in front of the customer and you’re going, ‘OK, you get this many loads.’ We had an installer say it’s like asking the homeowner which finger do you want to lose. … What load management does is it makes that question go away. The concept is that every load in your home can have power and the customer gets to make that decision when they need to make the decision. So, they can change their minds anytime.

I don’t know how many hours of install or pre-sales that might result in, but I believe it gets rid of one of those huge pain points for these people.

Is there added value beyond the sheer convenience and flexibility? Is there another way to calculate ROI you’re getting from adding load management?

McLaren: With load management, whether you’re on grid or off grid, you do have the ability to control your circuits. So, it’s a little bit like home automation where you can tap on the app and turn something on turn, something off.

But that ROI is perhaps not nearly as valuable as again that moment of install.

I always like to imagine that you have that in-home consultation and the customer says, “I want to back up these 27 circuits,” and the installer goes, “OK, that will cost you another $14,000 more than what you originally thought.

Well, load management comes along and says for a tenth of that, you’re now covered. You have to accept that some of your loads won’t be going, but typically for a homeowner in an outage, that’s not a big deal.

I think that load management is the next step in these energy systems. We spend a lot of effort in the producers, the generators, the solar the wind and so on, but I think there’s a whole movement to if you can manage your loads on the load side, you also have a lot of flexibility and ability to use that energy efficiently.

Pick up the conversation here, as we get into the PWRmanager specifically. McLaren also explains a really cool new feature available via Generac called Outage Guard.

Here’s everything we discuss:

  • 0:22 – How does load management install differ from a protected loads panel install?
  • 2:02 – Added value for homeowner beyond flexibility?
  • 4:16 – Differentiators among load managers / smart circuit products
  • 5:58 – What happens when the internet goes down? (Three resilient backup options)
  • 7:48 – Can PWRmanager be installed with a non-Generac system?
  •  8:42 – Recent firmware updates
  • 9:23 – How Outage Guard works and why it’s cool

You might also be interested in this previous Generac Pitch, covering ac coupling.

Listen to more in-depth conversations on Solar Builder's YouTube channel

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Power Forward! | A collaboration with BayWa r.e. to discuss higher level industry topics.
The Buzz | Where we give our 2 cents per kWh on the residential solar market.
The Pitch | Discussions with solar manufacturers about their new technology and ideas.

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