Texas Solar Provider Launching Integrated Energy Offering In Partnership With New Branded Retail Electric Provider
June 30, 2021 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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Almika Energy, a Texas residential solar energy company, is launching an integrated energy offering in Texas in partnership with a new retail electric provider which has taken on the Almika brand name
Almika Energy currently offers residential solar as well as battery storage and back-up generation solutions
Almika Energy will now offer, as part of its suite, retail electricity plans from Almika Solar (a distinct and separate company from Almika Energy). Almika Solar is a trade name of Texas retail electric provider JP Energy Resources LLC. JP Energy Resources also offers service under the trade name Ampra Energy.
Almika Energy also plans to launch a smart technology platform to integrate solar panels, generators, batteries and smart home devices to the electricity grid
Almika Energy says that it, "has created Texas' first fully integrated solar development and retail electricity supplier."
While Almika Solar is a white label, both companies' management and day-to-day teams are "connected at the hip" in serving customers, Almika Energy CEO Cameron Palmore told EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Almika Energy's goal is to offer an end-to-end solution and to diminish the number of counterparties with which customers need to interact for solar energy and related solutions
Almika Energy, through partner REP Almika Solar, recently began a soft launch (friends and family) of the retail plans, offering 100% renewable, standard fixed rate products (e.g. 12 months fixed).
Almika is also offering solar buyback retail plans to residential customers, which is one area in which Almika will differentiate its retail products.
"What we're aiming to do with our buyback plans is really make a few different buyback plans," to reflect that all solar systems and users are not the same, Palmore told EnergyChoiceMatters.com
"The solar buyback plans that are currently offered out in the market [from other REPs] are very limited, in terms of rate structures and product structures," which can be detrimental for some customers depending on their solar system and usage, Palmore said
Almika is developing several different buyback plans to be tailored to the customer's usage and solar power production, including products designed for customers with solar systems that produce less than the customer's full usage (50%, 75%, etc.) or those where the customer produces more than typical usage (100%+).
Palmore noted the situation faced by a customer whose solar installation may only cover 50% of their energy usage. Palmore noted that other solar buyback retail products in the market carry elevated rates for system power (perhaps as high as 16 cents per kWh) versus standard retail plans, meaning that for low-producing customers, the customer will be paying a higher system power rate for most of the time. As an illustrative example, Palmore noted that Almika under its soft launch has a solar buyback plan (Houston area) with a rate for system power of 8.8 cents per kWh, and buyback rate of 8.8 cents per kWh.
"We will make those [buyback] product offerings more robust and optimized," in the next month or so, Palmore said
As noted, Almika Energy also plans to launch a smart technology platform to integrate solar panels, generators, batteries and smart home devices to the electricity grid. "This platform will allow customers to utilize electricity during power outages and positively impact the grid during times of energy stress, like Texas’ Winter Storm Uri in February 2021," Almika Energy said
Almika will use a software platform leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) that constantly monitors real-time grid conditions and forecasts to optimize local generation resources and load, reward customers, and maximize power contribution to the grid.
"On the residential side, it's very rare that you'll find someone that's going to stay home or stay logged-in to change their behavior or turn down their thermostat or turn off some lights or turn on their battery, to be able to participate in demand response, so adoption is pretty difficult there. So we're working on a machine learning and automatic way to help customers take advantage of any assets that they have -- natural gas generators, batteries, solar systems, or thermostats -- for them to be able to participate in demand response events either driven by load constraints, pricing events, or 4CP events," Palmore said
Palmore noted that, prior to the Texas winter weather event, the uptake rate of battery storage or back-up generation for new Almika Energy customers was 1 in 10. That number is now 9 in 10 for new customers.
"Our goal is to popularize solar energy across Texas and beyond and to dispel myths that solar energy isn’t an option for the average person," Palmore said. "We want to push the solar industry forward and truly change the energy landscape with groundbreaking technology."
Almika Energy was co-founded by Palmore, who brings 10 years of finance and market development experience within the deregulated electricity industry. Having begun his career with Reliant, leading risk and pricing strategy for Reliant Energy's $1.4BN residential portfolio, he then founded Power Express, a retail electricity provider.