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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