How does Lumen determine the optimal amount of solar for a building?

A highly-customizable approach

At the heart of Lumen Energy’s software is a financial model that is constantly updating alongside a range of sources and data science models. To identify the optimal mix of clean energy technologies for a building, Lumen calculates the financial return of each possible configuration to shed light on the best solution.

Building an energy profile

Using satellite imaging, energy data, customer preferences, and financial modeling, Lumen maps out the energy DNA of a customer’s building.

Satellite imaging

Lumen uses satellite imagery and LIDAR (light detection and ranging) to evaluate a customer’s rooftop. This allows us to identify the areas where solar panels will fit and electricity production will be maximized.

Example satellite view

Energy data

Next, models developed in partnership with US Government Labs estimate hourly electricity usage and create an initial energy profile for a building. This is then updated with historical utility data to further refine Lumen’s analysis. When detailed interval usage data is not available, Lumen uses any available data — whether that's bills in PDF format or incomplete intervals — to update and scale the initial energy profile.

Customer preferences

Lumen then incorporates a customer’s preferences, tax capacity, and investing criteria into a detailed financial model that is automatically converted to code. This allows it to be deployed quickly across a variety of different system configuration scenarios.

Finding the optimal system

Lumen combines satellite imaging, energy data, and customer preferences with our financial model to compute economic returns across a range of possible system sizes. This enables us to find the optimal system sizing for many configuration scenarios. Select allows our customers to compare the financial benefit and emissions impact of each of these scenarios, such as the inclusion of a battery system or a solar carport.