EnerNOC and SunPower are teaming up to provide energy management software and solar solutions to commercial and industrial customers.

SunPower’s existing commercial customers will receive EnerNOC’s software-as-a-service solution for energy management as part of the three-year exclusive agreement. EnerNOC will offer SunPower services and equipment to its customers.

“With EnerNOC's energy intelligence software, our customers will get energy and demand management analytics integrated with real-time SunPower solar production and performance,” Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO, said in a statement. “Our two companies will work together to continuously evolve these services and offer customers best-in-class solar technology coupled with industry-leading energy intelligence and management."

SunPower’s solar production and performance data will be integrated with EnerNOC’s enterprise software. SunPower customers will get EnerNOC’s basic service with enhanced capabilities that would be most useful to companies with solar installations. It shows energy managers information about how buildings across a portfolio are using energy and how much it is costing based on the specific utility rates in any given location. 

One of the primary applications for savvy users will be to look at energy use in relation to demand charges and, ideally, to shift usage to better align with solar production in order to reduce or eliminate those charges. Werner noted that demand charges can account for approximately 30 percent of some commercial customers’ bills. Customers will also be able to undertake more sophisticated measurement and verification to track the payback of their solar investments.

EnerNOC will exclusively offer SunPower solar solutions to its customers, including more than 1,300 enterprise customers and thousands more demand response customers that operate at 60,000 sites. SunPower will be able to use EnerNOC's data to target the facilities that would benefit from solar the most.

David Brewster, president and co-founder of EnerNOC, said at the company’s EnergySmart user conference in Philadelphia that only a small percentage of EnerNOC’s current customers have solar. SunPower's client base will bring EnerNOC's software to thousands of clients in the near term, and to “tens of thousands if we’re successful,” said CEO Tim Healy.

The agreement is the latest example of merging ecosystems, as point solutions for energy production and management become more compelling when paired with others. In December, SunPower invested $20 million in Tendril and licensed Tendril’s energy services platform to integrate it with customers' home solar data to offer a new set of energy management services.

Werner told analysts last fall that the company would be adding more functionality to its offerings, including AC modules, energy storage and energy management. In the near term, more robust energy analytics help SunPower compete in the commercial solar market. Recently, Sungevity, Vivint and Greenskies have all announced projects or plans in the commercial sector.

The timing is right for offering more holistic solutions as C&I and residential customers get smarter about their energy management.

Solar installers are also partnering with energy storage firms. GTM Research expects the solar-plus-storage market to grow to more than $1 billion by 2018.

Healy said that as solar installers morph into full-fledged energy suppliers to their customers, they need not just technology partners, but also robust information and analytics, which EnerNOC wants to provide. “We focus on the expense part of the equation.”

“The information layer is what will differentiate them,” Healy said of solar companies vying to be more comprehensive energy providers. Brewster noted that the percentage of electricity provided to U.S. companies by entities other than the incumbent utility has more than doubled since 2003.

In an ideal world for players like EnerNOC and SunPower, commercial customers would use the highest level of EnerNOC’s enterprise software to assess their utility spend and demand charges, and also their demand response opportunity in capacity and ancillary services, to determine which locations are the best fit for solar and, potentially, storage.

“What we’re talking about is customers that largely don’t exist yet,” Gregg Dixon, VP of global sales at EnerNOC, said of that level of sophistication. He said corporations were increasingly looking for more functionality in energy software, but few customers were thinking holistically about their energy generation, procurement and demand management.

But the customer base will get there, and when it does, EnerNOC hopes to be partnered with major players in the ecosystem. Tesla is making an appearance at EnerNOC’s summit this year with a booth to educate attendees about its stationary storage offering.

There was no formal partnership announced between the two companies at the event, but Tesla’s presence is likely a sign of something in the works. Neither company would comment. Healy would only say that there is a “great partnering opportunity” with major players in the storage market, such as Tesla. “We’re looking for the right partners across this ecosystem.”

Healy noted that the SunPower deal was exclusive in terms of solar installation, but did not preclude any other relationships in other areas of distributed energy resources, such as storage. When asked about any pilots between EnerNOC and Tesla, Healy said he “cannot comment specifically on work underway.”