AMS Beefs Up Leadership Team With SolarCity’s Grid Services Guru

Greentech Media
By Julian Spector
October 19, 2017

Ryan Han­ley will spear­head the com­mer­cial stor­age company’s prod­uct devel­op­ment, as it ramps up for a major util­ity contract.

After the depar­tures of two high-​​level lead­ers, Advanced Micro­grid Solu­tions picked up a new C-​​suite member.

The San Francisco-​​based com­mer­cial stor­age devel­oper hired Ryan Han­ley, for­merly vice pres­i­dent of grid solu­tions at SolarCity, to serve as chief prod­uct offi­cer. In that role, he’ll over­see “prod­uct” in an expan­sive sense — not just the bat­tery sys­tems going into stores and office build­ings, but the eco­nomic opti­miza­tion soft­ware that oper­ates them and the ana­lyt­ics used to pri­or­i­tize new project sites for customers.

Han­ley has spent the past few years try­ing to build action­able busi­ness strate­gies around the fre­quently dis­cussed idea that dis­trib­uted energy resources can serve as lucra­tive grid assets, pro­vid­ing value to host cus­tomers, grid oper­a­tors and ratepay­ers alike. He led the effort to trans­form the largest rooftop solar installer from a “con­struc­tion busi­ness” into a “plat­form com­pany” that lever­ages its port­fo­lio of customer-​​sited assets for grid services.

The fact that we can bun­dle [solar, stor­age and other DERs] together and actu­ally sell a prod­uct that saves the cus­tomer money, pro­vides the util­ity ser­vice and also makes us a profit is a big mile­stone — maybe an under-​​spoken mile­stone of where we’re going,” he said at an event in the fall of 2016.

SolarCity, though, remained first and fore­most a com­pany that installs solar on people’s roofs. Then it got sub­sumed into Tesla, which first and fore­most makes elec­tric cars and spun off a side busi­ness pack­ag­ing its bat­ter­ies for sta­tion­ary stor­age. The grid ser­vices con­cept still hasn’t risen to the top of the company’s crowded and high-​​stakes to-​​do list.

At AMS, though, grid ser­vices are pretty much the rea­son the whole com­pany exists.

AMS has always been a com­pany that saw where this indus­try is going, mov­ing into some­thing dis­trib­uted and trans­ac­tive, and for­mu­lated itself to really bet on the indus­try going that way,” Han­ley said in an inter­view at the company’s airy rooftop conference-​​room gazebo.

The busi­ness model chases two stacked value streams. It deploys fleets of energy stor­age across com­mer­cial and indus­trial cus­tomers’ port­fo­lio of prop­er­ties, shar­ing the energy bill sav­ings achieved by demand man­age­ment. Mean­while, AMS con­tracts with util­i­ties in those areas to dis­patch its fleet of bat­ter­ies on command.

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