On one of my many travels recently, I got a chance to catch up on some movies that I had been meaning to watch. One of those movies was “Steve Jobs.” This movie, starring Michael Fassbender, gives an inside look at one of the true innovators of our time.
Now I’m not here to give a review or a “thumbs up/thumbs down” of the movie. I just want to highlight something that really stood out for me as I was watching the film. During the second half of the movie, Steve was talking with Joanna Hoffman, who led Apple’s marketing efforts and seemed to be Steve’s closest advisor. They were discussing the projections of the soon-to-be-released iMac - which turned out to be 1,000,000 of the personal computers sold over the first 90 days. After that, there would be 20,000 sold each month. It would change the world of personal computing forever, right? It was a true disrupter.
I started breaking those numbers down into how many would be sold every hour. If my math is right, within the first 90 days, there would be 463 computers sold each hour.
I then started to think about the disruptive technology of the energy space – solar and battery storage. What if disruption in the energy space achieved just 1% of the iMac numbers? That would be 10,000 solar or storage units sold in the first 90 days. That’s equal to almost five being sold every hour over that period of time.
Now some would say that’s impossible. But others would say it’s not a matter of if, but when. What’s really striking to me about all of this is that the when is now. Recently, Aaron Johnson, Vice President, Customer Energy Solutions at PG&E, stated “PG&E is home to a quarter of all the rooftop solar systems in the country, and a new one comes online every seven minutes.” That’s 8-1/2 systems every hour. And above I stated that five per hour would be just 1% of the iMac numbers. It makes you think!
How are utilities going to manage this? Having a platform that gives visibility into these installs and allows utilities to connect, control and optimize other distributed resources will be key to managing this new era, where bidirectional flow could be the new normal.