Solect Energy is one of the top 10 commercial photovoltaic (PV) solar installers in the United States. Built with a mission to turn energy into business opportunities for their customers, the company works tirelessly to find smart, clean energy solutions with a bankable return. Solect deploys a modest commercial fleet of just under 50 light-to-medium duty PV installation and operations vehicles. Given the nature of its business and the size of its fleet, Solect Energy was an ideal candidate for 3Degrees to pilot a fleet advisory engagement with EV analytics partner, Merge Electric Fleet Solutions (Merge).
As EV technology has reached fleet-capable vehicle classes including pickups and vans, and local, state, and federal incentives continue to scale, companies around the world are assessing when and how to transition to electric fleets in order to accelerate progress toward overarching climate targets and bring down total cost of ownership.
For Solect Energy, employing a dedicated in-house professional to analyze and optimize their fleet performance isn’t its central priority. However, to understand the business case for fleet electrification, the company joined forces with 3Degrees and Merge to conduct an EV advisory engagement that would assess the current driving pattern of its fleet, optimize current performance, analyze the viability of vehicle electrification vehicle-by-vehicle, calculate the total cost of ownership impacts, and identify immediate next steps.
How We Helped
Leveraging its partnership with Merge, the team utilized existing telematics data collection across Solect Energy’s fleet. By analyzing the real-world driving and locational data, 3Degrees and Merge unlocked a deeper understanding of factors unique to Solect’s electrification opportunity, such as where each vehicle is stored overnight, how far each vehicle is driving daily and annually, how much a vehicle idles, and the consistency or variability of each vehicle’s usage. Discovery calls led by 3Degrees brought to light unique business considerations such as the average vehicle lifespan, the business requirements of each vehicle, and the requirements of the vehicle’s driver.
First, 3Degrees and Merge scrubbed the data to remove errors, ensure accuracy, and fill in any data gaps. Once the data was validated, the team conducted a thorough analysis of the fleet to help prioritize which vehicles to electrify and when. The team developed a precursory EV procurement plan and presented it to the Solect Energy management team. Merge also forecast charging infrastructure and energy needs, including home, depot, and public, for early to late phase deployment. Deeper-level discussions between the companies helped 3Degrees present realistic actionable next steps.
The analysis determined that 50% of Solect’s fleet could be electrified over the next six years, bringing with it an average total cost of ownership benefit of approximately $7,300 per electric vehicle and avoiding 50MT of CO2e per vehicle from being emitted into the atmosphere.
These findings helped Solect Energy identify the lowest-risk and most costeffective course of action. Solect Energy now has a customized plan that details how electric vehicles can be phased in as the fleet turns over in a way that minimizes the impact to operations and is financially beneficial. Clean fuels programs, which provide financial incentives to organizations reducing the carbon intensity of a state’s fuel pool, have been rolled out in many regions across North America. If Massachusetts adopts its own clean fuels program, 3Degrees can help monetize on behalf of Solect to further improve the ROI. Additionally, with many of 3Degrees’ clients, EV charging is matched with RECs to ensure that it is consuming decarbonized power.
Transitioning to new technologies isn’t without its challenges and risks. This engagement provided Solect Energy with a clear starting point on their journey to fleet electrification, and the peace of mind of knowing that the road ahead will be a smooth one.
“3Degrees and Merge did a great job of understanding our business and providing us with actionable advice. We now have a roadmap to electrifying our fleet and know when and how to transition each vehicle.”