Self-Storage REIT Extra Space Partners with Locus Energy to Monitor Solar Installations

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Self-Storage real estate investment trust Extra Space Storage Inc. has partnered with Locus Energy, a provider of solar-panel monitoring and data analytics, to help manage the 150 solar-panel systems installed at Extra Space properties. The partnership comes following the release of Locus Energy’s Virtual Irradiance (VI) modeling tool, which provides solar-fleet operators with data on the amount of sunlight striking the ground, enabling an accurate assessment of a solar-photovoltaic system’s performance, according to a joint press release.

"As our solar fleet has grown, it became clear that we needed a more precise tool for assessing how our solar assets are performing," said Nathan Morrill, national procurement manager for Extra Space. "After working with VI, we are much more aware of how much energy each and every one of our sites should be producing, which helps us prioritize [operations and maintenance] activity."

"VI enables the [photovoltaic] industry to identify which solar systems fail to meet performance expectations, assess how much value was lost, and efficiently solve problems at an individual site or across an entire portfolio," added Michael Herzig, CEO of Locus Energy.

VI uses data from weather stations and satellite imagery to provide ground-level irradiance data for any location in the continental United States, Locus officials said. For small- to mid-sized systems, VI is intended to eliminate the need for an onsite sensor. For larger systems for which an onsite sensor may already have been installed, VI is designed to fill in gaps and validate sensor data, which can become skewed due to miscalibration, soiling and other factors, according to the release.

"To sustain growth at the record levels of the past few years, the solar industry needs to find new ways to cut soft costs," said Pavel Molchanov, senior vice president and equity research analyst for financial advisory firm Raymond James & Associates. "Locus' VI can be a useful tool for solar-asset managers looking to efficiently keep tabs on their growing asset base and keep ancillary costs to a minimum."

Locus Energy has more than 40,000 solar-monitoring and data-analytics platforms deployed across the residential, commercial and utility sectors. The company’s cloud-based software aggregates, organizes and analyzes performance data from multiple sources to help fleet managers access, manage and identify the causes of a solar-panel system's failure to meet performance expectations.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Extra Space owns or operates 1,052 self-storage properties in 35 states; Washington, D.C.; and Puerto Rico. The company’s properties comprise approximately 700,000 units and 78 million square feet of rentable space.

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