Utilities keep solar companies in the dark. Elena Lucas brings energy data into the light.
Utilities keep solar companies in the dark.
Elena Lucas brings energy data into the light.
Behind the business of energy production, there are a lot of numbers. Usage data is essential to solar companies who are trying to figure out how to work in a given region — but it’s often hidden away in the outmoded databases of individual utility companies who aren’t in the business of accessible data storage.
Less than a year after kicking off her clean-energy career as a low-level analyst at PG&E, Elena Lucas decided she wanted to tackle that problem head-on. She cofounded the Bay area–startup UtilityAPI in 2014.
[pullquote share=”true” hashtag=”Grist50″]“We’re the data infrastructure for the new energy economy.” [/pullquote]
UtilityAPI wrangles the data and delivers to the companies who need it — and in doing so, it has brought the cost of installing solar panels down by 5 to 10 percent.
Lucas is also working to to make her company — and tech culture at large — more welcoming to women. Nearly half of UtilityAPI’s employees are women, most in executive positions. “I think it’s really different than a lot of other companies in the Bay Area,” Lucas says, “and I’m so proud of that.”