Artificial intelligence-driven chatbots are emerging that can guide building owners with decisions about solar investments, according to new market insights from Forester Daily News’ Distributed Energy blog.
In a recent post, Distributed Energy’s Laura Sanchez interviews Attila Toth, founder and CEO of PowerScout, Oakland, California-based makers of a Facebook Messenger chatbot that shows users where they can get a solar energy savings estimate for their homes.
“The average American spends nearly an hour each day on Facebook. We wanted to meet people where they are and allow them to get reliable solar estimates,” Toth says. He added that his company wants to extend the chatbot to industrial clients. “We plan to roll it out for commercial and industrial applications so that a building owner can get this same easy experience and power their business operations on solar.”
Beyond solar, AI is gaining a strong foothold for a wide range of energy purchasing and management applications.
The startup Drift launched last year to streamline electricity purchases through a peer-to-peer network, Forbes contributor Jared Anderson reported. “Drift is tapping into traditional demand response markets through the commercial buildings in its network,” he wrote. “Drift refers to them as ‘price response markets,’ explained CEO Greg Robinson. ‘The buildings use all the infrastructure and personnel that they have for demand response and respond to price spikes in the market rather than grid emergencies,’ said Robinson.”
A white paper from Navigant published this month pointed to Sam, a utility bill management and payment services virtual assistant from the startup Pear.ai. Sam alerts customers about external elements that could impact cost and usage for operating locations based on factors that include utility bills, weather, installed technology, regulatory changes, and incentives, Energy Manager Today reported.
In addition, a University of Texas at San Antonio spinoff called Leaptran launched recently to develop products for optimizing whole building energy use that also offer room-level comfort. “Using artificial-intelligence and smart building features, these integrated hardware and software products will optimize energy use among micro-grid distributed energy resources such as solar power generation and battery energy storage systems,” the university explained.
Research and Markets predicted last year that the global market for intelligent buildings will reach $31.74 billion by 2022 — a market enabled in large part by AI. More recently, a report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found that smart tech retrofits can save the average office building 18% of its whole building energy use.
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