Sonnen recently announced a deal that brings the energy Convergence into sharp focus—on real estate. Through a contract with an Arizona homebuilder, Sonnen’s battery systems will be integrated with rooftop solar on new homes. Homebuyers won’t have to worry about getting separate financing for their solar panels or their battery as the related costs will be bundled into their mortgage.
The implications for the US real estate industry and other sectors may be just as significant as those for energy:
- Will home solar + storage integrated systems become standard in new homes? For clues we can look to the automotive industry, where the concept of “standard” versus “options” has always been central to sales. In 1995, Mercedes-Benz was the first to equip a production model with electronic stability control. By 2012, the technology was standard in every brand of car sold in the U.S. If there is a similar time horizon for built-in home energy systems, this could force the hand of many incumbents currently dominating the energy space (utilities, manufacturers, retailers, etc.).
- How would trends in home mortgage affect the deployment of integrated home battery systems?
Will solar + storage become just another appliance included in the price of a home, or will it follow the Uber model of a platform for robust community trading?
- How will these customers interact with the grid? What energy services will they be offered to maximize use of their assets? Offered by whom?
As with so many aspects of the Convergence, the timeframe of the change in real estate and energy will be driven by the people in charge. History has shown that in some cases this has been driven by consumer demand, but much of today’s rapid change and innovation can be attributed to the vision of business leaders.
What are your thoughts on the real estate market and energy? I invite you to share your perspectives to spark conversations among the energy executive community. Or contact us directly for a conversation.
President of Energy Advisory – Americas
P.S. In the coming weeks we’ll be releasing video highlights and insights from this year’s Forum. You can visit our website to stay up to date on new content as it’s released.