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The Evolution of Energy-As-A-Service: A Brief History of a Game-Changing Model


IonicBlue Posted by: IonicBlue 1 year ago

Energy as a Service (EaaS) may seem to be a brand new concept, but it’s a decades-old idea that has been thoughtfully retooled to consider today’s regulations, performance standards, efficiency solutions, emerging technology, and sustainability goals. 

In this article, we’ll look at the first iteration of mainstream EaaS and take note of the benefits of today’s versions of the EaaS model.

Back to the Beginning

In the 1950s, scientists figured out how to harness the photovoltaic effect into practical solar cells. With time, diversity of application, and an increase in scope, the manufacturing cost of solar cells decreased dramatically and their use became more prevalent. By the 1980s, governments the world over started to offer incentives for the development and installation of solar panels.

In the early 2000s, energy service companies began to install solar panels on a customer’s property and sell the electricity generated by those panels back to the customer at a fixed rate. This allowed customers to benefit from the savings afforded by solar energy without having to purchase, install, or maintain the solar panels. This win-win arrangement is the first widespread example of Energy as a Service! 

The Evolution of EaaS

EaaS has evolved over the past 20+ years to include a tailored range of services and solutions to meet the specific energy needs of businesses, institutions, and communities. This range includes, but is not limited to:

  • Full energy audit
  • Product vetting and selection
  • Project co/design, installation, and management
  • Real-time energy monitoring
  • Energy management and storage
  • Demand response
  • Predictive maintenance services
  • Incentive, rebate, recycling, and warranty management

Some of the identified solutions that come from the initial discovery phase are simple and seamless; others are more complex and temporarily disruptive; and all are more cost-efficient in the long run.  

Reducing the Barriers to Entry

Between laws and protocols, social and environmental pressures, and corporate responsibility goals, there seem to be innumerable barriers to achieving sustainability. The ambition gap can feel impassable. By design, the modern-day EaaS model significantly narrows the gap.

The primary barrier to becoming more sustainable is, of course, money. Traditionally, facility and infrastructure upgrades were considered capital expenses (capex). Drawing down these funds in the name of renewable energy and sustainability took resources from other projects, usually considered a higher priority, and so time and again these projects were moved to the back burner. 

With the EaaS model, the energy service partner puts forth the capital needed to execute the project and charges the customer a monthly fee. This is a subscription fee, a service contract; or an operating expense (opex). And EaaS isn’t limited to energy production and efficiency assets, it can include new infrastructure!

EaaS is the ultimate win-win. When energy is a core service but it is far and away from the core mission, outsourcing the whole initiative to an Energy as a Service partner just makes sense. The capex budget is preserved and the essential formerly back-burner projects are finally (and expertly) addressed. Done well, completed EaaS projects yield:

  • Significant energy savings
  • Added resilience and reliability
  • Facility updates and optimization
  • Improved worker safety, efficiency, and even job satisfaction
  • Increased sustainability 
  • Cost predictability

Here To Stay

Corporate customers and energy service companies look forward to a bright future as more and more EaaS success stories make business headlines. Ready to join the conversation? 

Connect with Team IonicBlue to see if EaaS is right for your company. Our four-step process is super simple: 

  1. Meet with our team to discuss your goals. 
  2. Together, we’ll identify solutions.
  3. Consider financing options.
  4. Get started!

Have questions? Get in touch! We’re here to support you.