A sample screenshot of a SolarCity customer's energy efficiency data Image Credit: SolarCity

Responding To Obama’s Action Plan, SolarCity Unveils Energy Explorer

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A national leader in clean energy services, SolarCity has responded to US President Obama’s call for reduced carbon pollution and increased energy efficiency by revealing Energy Explorer, “a new software service that provides homeowners a self-guided tour of their energy use.”

Speaking at Georgetown University — a location filled with meaning for SolarCity, which has already completed six solar projects on student housing — President Barack Obama announced his climate change action plan to “reduce carbon pollution, prepare the US for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address global climate change.”

Speaking to the issue of climate change, President Obama reiterated his human side: “As a president, as a father, and as an American, I am here to say we need to act.”

However, he similarly mocked his critics who believe that climate change is not a threat: “I don’t have much patience for anyone who denies that this challenge is real. We don’t have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society.”

While much of the new action plan can be enacted without congressional approval, there are a few issues which may face opposition. Starting the attack already, Republican and House Speaker John Boehner referred to the plans as “absolutely crazy”.

Scroll down to read more about the specifics of the plan.

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In fortuitous timing, SolarCity has subsequently announced Energy Explorer, a program powered by SolarCity’s “proprietary algorithms” which “performs more than 100 million calculations per household” in an effort to determine the source of energy inefficiencies and provide users with suggestions where improvements — organized by cost and savings — can be made.

A sample screenshot of a SolarCity customer's energy efficiency data Image Credit: SolarCity
A sample screenshot of a SolarCity customer’s energy efficiency data
Image Credit: SolarCity

SolarCity residential customers now have access to Energy Explorer, a free service which will provide complementary evaluations to customers.

“Traditional efficiency audits generalize energy expenses, fail to pinpoint the source of problems and leave consumers guessing about possible solutions. It’s like providing a symptom without a diagnosis,” said Peter Rive, SolarCity’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “Energy Explorer isolates the sources of energy expenses and analyzes the specific impact of solutions. With Energy Explorer, SolarCity has changed a process that used to require 4 hours and cost hundreds of dollars into a free service that takes a few minutes and the single click of a mouse.”

Here’s how it works:

  1. After a homeowner signs up for solar, a SolarCity expert evaluates the customer’s home for solar. The expert also records information related to energy use. This includes details about the heating and cooling equipment, water heater, insulation levels, and window types.
  2. Energy Explorer combines data from the evaluation with local weather information, a three-dimensional model of the building, and a Department of Energy database of equipment efficiencies in order to run a simulation of energy use in the home. The result is a breakdown of energy costs and potential efficiency improvements, including estimated savings and project costs.
  3. Following the evaluation, the customer can access a personalized website for a self-guided tour of evaluation results. The customer can select from a list of improvements and choose to be contacted by a certified contractor to perform upgrades.

The Energy Explorer evaluations join more than 16,000 energy efficiency evaluations already conducted by SolarCity since its launch in 2010. Average customer savings have added up to more than $1,000 annually after energy efficiency upgrades were made.

President Obama’s plan is split into six categories: reducing carbon pollution from power plants; accelerating clean energy leadership; building a 21st century transportation sector; cutting energy waste in homes, businesses, and factories; reducing other greenhouse gas emissions; and finally, perpetuating federal leadership on the issue.

What follows are five images provided by the White House outlining the issues facing humanity, as well as President Obama’s action plan to tackle the issues.



In the White House fact sheet released in support of the action plan, it is noted that “we have a moral obligation to future generations to leave them a planet that is not polluted and damaged.” Furthermore, it is believed that “steady [and] responsible action to cut carbon pollution” will allow current generations to “protect our children’s health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so that we leave behind a cleaner, more stable environment.”

House Speaker John Boehner continued his attack on Obama by asking, “Why would you want to increase the cost of energy and kill more American jobs at a time when American people are asking, ‘Where are the jobs.'” However, cutting energy efficiency saves money, installing clean energy saves society money, and a clean energy transformation creates hundreds of thousands or even millions of jobs, much more than business as usual.

The full action plan as released by the Executive Office of the President is available below.

Barack Obama’s Climate Change Plan

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

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