Slingshot Power Taps Actian and Big Data to Supercharge the Solar Economy

Solar economy

Energy independence takes a big step forward with the Actian Analytics Platform providing insights to drive the most optimal decisions for creating market intelligence for clean energy adoption. Actian Corporation (“Actian”), the first company to deliver an end-to-end big data analytics platform running natively in Hadoop, announced that clean energy provider Slingshot Power is using the Actian Analytics Platform – Hadoop SQL Edition to more accurately target customer segments, optimize system performance, tailor recommendations, and predict the ideal pathway for every American home to achieve energy independence.

The Actian platform enables Slingshot Power to easily bring together disparate sources of contextual data and accurately analyze it to identify many new customers not previously considered candidates for energy efficiency or solar—resulting in what Slingshot predicts to be a 60 percent increase in energy-independent homes and businesses from today’s models.

The average electric bill for US households, according to the US Energy Information Administration, has risen 38 percent in ten years with “upper tier” customers (or those who use the most electricity) most vulnerable to continual rate increases as the higher rate tiers are not regulated. While a recent National Association of Home Builders survey shows nine out of 10 homebuyers would pay a premium for energy-efficient features that permanently lower utility bills, accurately determining the actual homeowners and estimating the costs and benefits for them can be a challenge. This often slows adoption of solar, LED, net metering, and other technologies that can drastically cut power costs over the long term. Actian’s Hadoop SQL Edition helps Slingshot identify those customers that are in upper tiers of usage and can benefit from solar energy.

Fast Growth Startup Goes from Spreadsheets to Advanced Hadoop Analytics in Days

“The mandate for our generation is to replace the oil/gas economy with clean energy. It’s necessary for our planet but also for our pocketbooks. The case for clean energy is apparent for those who see the numbers,” said Ravi Chiruvolu, CEO of Slingshot Power. “Our mission is to make the numbers obvious to everyone. Even if you don’t know your kilowatts from a kilogram, we’re going to make you a clean energy expert. Solar is cheaper than smokestack utilities for nearly 25 percent of Americans and our goal is to make sure that everyone makes an informed decision when they switch, and give them an easy and stress-free experience.”

The Actian Analytics Platform Hadoop SQL Edition is the first comprehensive solution that provides the ability to perform analysis in Hadoop using the lingua franca of business analytics—SQL. This enabled Slingshot to sidestep the roadblocks most companies face in deploying their first big data analytics-driven use case. “With Actian’s Hadoop SQL Edition, we went from darkness—literally using spreadsheets—to a first order predictive model with much higher accuracy and timely insights in just three days,” said Chiruvolu.

“Some people ask, ‘why would a start-up possibly need big data?’ These people fail to understand that today’s start-ups could be tomorrow’s powerhouses by fundamentally changing the fabric of established markets. Slingshot Power is great example of a start-up using big data analytics to take on an audacious challenge against established incumbents to bring energy independence to households that were previously locked into non-renewable sources of energy,” said Ashish Gupta, CMO and SVP business development for Actian. “The Actian Analytics Platform simplifies the blending and analyses of public data sources, like weather and geo-location, with internal information about customers and their energy usage patterns, to provide Slingshot with insights that have materially changed the trajectory of all aspects of their business from lead-gen to customer service.”

Harnessing Data to Harness the Power of the Sun

Slingshot Power is propelling its business forward with analytics that help them more accurately identify the top prospects for solar power, and give them a higher customer win rate by combining CRM, weather, permit, energy production and historical utility pricing data with predictive modeling of future electric pricing. “The Hadoop SQL Edition enables us to integrate and analyze data from the Internet of Things (IoT), Google Earth, local governments, NASA, drones and other sources to pinpoint those who are ready for clean energy, and offer tailored solutions that make it completely affordable,” added Chiruvolu.

Bridging the SQL Barrier to Derive Insight in Hadoop

Like Slingshot, that is unlocking the power of solar to more households, Actian’s Hadoop SQL Edition makes Hadoop accessible to an infinitely larger group of business intelligence professionals, well beyond the current constraints of specialized developers and data scientists by delivering:

  • Performance up to 30x faster than the nearest competitive offering
  • Fully industrialized capabilities that include business-critical security, complete ACID compliance, full SQL support, and libraries of analytics functions
  • The only YARN-ready, end-to-end analytic processing natively in Hadoop

“Today, even the most basic items like solar panels generate and provide data that is used by on-board optimizers to moderate the way the panel works. This and many of the advancements in the Internet of Things give rise to massive sources and quantities of data. This data can be transformed to information and then insights through analytic technologies,” said R “Ray” Wang, founder and chairman of Constellation Research. “Consequently, Slingshot is the perfect example of a company that is using analytics to transform business models, improve customer experiences, and make a socio-economic difference.”

According to Chiruvolu, the ability to overcome the “NoSQL barrier” and analyze data on their Hortonworks Hadoop data-lake allows them to more systematically and creatively integrate data from unlimited sources in order to:

  • Monitor solar panels over their lifetime and understand production patterns, including irregularities, and compare systems to each other and to worldwide weather and other data
  • Improve system maintenance by detecting drops in energy production to proactively schedule and more intelligently route service calls
  • Analyze data from households to help customers improve their energy efficiency, as well as offer a roadmap to replace inefficient appliances and devices in a timely, affordable manner

“This represents only the beginning of our analytic journey,” Chiruvolu adds. “With the Actian platform in place, we will continue to become increasingly predictive, grow our business, and achieve our vision to deliver energy independence. At Slingshot, we see a future where households are unshackled from the traditional grid—and now, with Actian’s platform, we will help everyone else see what we can see.”

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