James McPhail, CEO of Zen Ecosystems: Most of the market that could benefit from demand response programs and energy management systems has been ignored.
Looking at it from a building-automation contractor’s point of view, small customers don’t make sense – it’s the difference between having a chain of Walmart stores or one corner mom-and-pop coffee shop as your customer. But when you stack the independent retailers, businesses and coffee shops together, you’re adding up most businesses across the nation and a significant portion of energy usage from the grid.
Companies that develop innovative, low cost hardware and software that can participate in demand response events will begin to target this market. While there is technology available to these businesses (ranging from energy storage to sophisticated energy management systems), the cost to enable a kilowatt through them is typically anywhere from $500 on up. With a simpler, smarter device, that price could be brought down to the $50/kW range.
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