Origin uses AI and cloud to prepare quotes for solar customers

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Origin uses AI and cloud to prepare quotes for solar customers

More accurate ROI projections for owners.

Origin Energy is looking to save time preparing quotes for potential solar power customers, with an online tool combining 3D data, visual AI and advanced analytics.

Built on Google Cloud and in collaboration with Accenture, the tool is designed to give customers recommendations on how a solar installation would perform on their roof and what power bill savings they might expect, within 10 minutes.

The tool uses roof pitch and area, shading caused by obstructions, and insights into household energy consumption to make its calculations.

Shading is particularly challenging, since depending on system design, partial shading of a single panel can substantially impact the performance of the whole system.

A customer would also get a system and installation quote, power generation forecasts, and details of a system’s break-even point, without having to speak to a sales agent.

“Previously, prospective solar customers would need to speak with a sales agent and schedule a site inspection to gain this level of personalisation and detail in their quote, a process which can sometimes take weeks,” Origin’s general manager of retail sales and marketing Duncan Permezel said.

“For customers who would prefer to chat to a solar expert or have someone visit their home to inspect their roof, that level of service is still something we provide."

Accenture data scientists with expertise in industrial engineering and solar power built the tool for Origin.

Accenture's Ben Tulloch (Google Cloud business lead) told iTnews that while today’s solar customer might typically opt for a default package – a 3kW or 10kW system more or less off-the-shelf – Origin wanted to craft more individual offers for customers.

“Firstly, the performance of any solution is governed by the specific location and position. This model allows more accurate predictions of performance and ROI for the customers,” he said.

“Secondly, there are variations in the solution types that have an impact. For example, using high specification panels that cost more generate more energy in low light conditions.”

Permezel agreed: “The benefits of providing a more granular prediction through the tool is that it optimises the payback period for customers around their investment.

"As we start to see higher battery sales, the tool can also help customers identify an appropriate system which enables them to capture the benefits of adding battery storage in the future”. 

Origin has launched the quote engine (here) for customers in its metropolitan footprint in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra.

That footprint could be easily extended, Permezel told iTnews.

“The tool currently supports most households within our serviceability areas for solar, which are approximately 100km from CBD locations,” he said.

“We continually review our serviceability footprints and over the past twelve months have expanded into the Ergon patch in North Queensland and key regional areas like Ballarat and Bendigo in Victoria”.

“The Solar Assessment Tool has been built to easily ingest additional data (including Google Earth and Nearmap data) from regional areas as we expand our footprint to support growing demand for cleaner, smarter, more affordable energy solutions”.


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