Oakland, California-based kWh Analytics, which finished second in the start-up competition, plans to harness the power of Big Data so investors can understand solar as an asset class instead of a smattering of small and unique assets.
CEO and managing director Richard Matsui, a McKinsey & Co. alum, says the company’s database has over 10,000 PV systems representing 1GW of generating capacity. Assuming a 10 per cent cost of capital, which is conservative, Matsui says, Big Data presents an opportunity to reduce capital costs by 40 per cent.
“That’s 40 cents per watt. That’s two inverters,” he said.
A key question about the kWh Analytics’ business plan centers on ownership of its data. Will PV system owners share data on kWh’s terms? Matsui acknowledged during the competition that it’s important to grow the data set quickly, and he said a close relationship with the stock-listed data firm CoreLogic will help kWh address legal issues surrounding data ownership.
“First mover matters a lot in this space,” Matsui said.