Great to chat with Peter Light, CEO and Co-founder of Lumen Energy, Lumen Energy enables commercial buildings to generate income from clean energy! We discussed decarbonizing buildings, shaping the direction of technology deployment, helping building owners to find cost-optimal clean energy solutions, financing cleantech and more!

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James

The unedited podcast transcript is below

James McWalter

Hello today we’re speaking of Peter Light Ceo and cofounder at Lumen Energy, welcome to podcast Peter.

Peter Light

Thank you James thrilled to be here.

James McWalter

Great. Ah, could you tell us a little bit about lumin energy.

Peter Light

Sure so Lumen Energy is a technology company. We are creating a platform that enables commercial building owners to profitably decarbonize all their buildings swiftly and so what we do is really automate. Clean energy deployment. Typically starts with solar but it often cascades into batteries and ev charging and we see a future where there are a variety of clean energy technologies which are declining in costs. They’re getting simpler to deploy. Um, they’re getting finanable all that is good. It also means it gets ah really complicated for building owners to figure out what makes sense for them and as we as we look out. We find that many commercial building owners could save a lot of money today. Um yet, they don’t do it and they don’t do it because it’s hard. It’s complicated to figure out so that’s where we step in and really make it simple. Go from concept to assessment to action through a marketplace that we’ve developed which we can talk more about and I’m happy to happy to share more about how we got here, but that’s the punchline.

James McWalter

Yeah, and I guess it’s absolutely you know I think I heard about lumen and we spoke a couple of years ago and you’ve kind of come a long way since then but going back to that initial decision to start lumen. You know what drove that.

Peter Light

Ah, it was the initial decision. It was ah I you know it’s funny I can I vividly remember sitting in a cold brick building sort of the texture the walls when I would I had um. I couldn’t get away from this sense that there were you know I’d spent the the None 2 decades of my career commercializing breakthrough energy generation Technologies things like fuel cells or um, flying wind turbines or you know floating solar Yeah Non-lithium Ion chemistry batteries and.

Peter Light

And I really just sort just like wait. There. There are now technologies that are cost effective financiable proven and they’re not widely deployed and you know why is that and just even starting with rooftop solar. Um this this work came out of. So work I do at Google x when I was leading mv programs there. We were set out to you know model the global power grid and particularly the distribution grid think of it like creating Google maps for the power grid this is ah it was a confidential project now it’s public. It’s called tapestry. You can read more about it on the website. Um, but in that initiative started to work with some utilities and just got all the data for an entire city and and regions that utilities served and started to see that there were a lot of commercial buildings that could save money and they weren’t doing it and so um, that. That was the sort of founding story was just being bugged by that question. Um, like why you know the goal is Mas decarization on a timetable that matters meaning you know 2030 you know, 8 years from now really making a major dent and our carbon footprint that that led me to say well. A lot of things you could do to decarbonize in our society but like let’s start with mass deploying things that are already profitable because that’s going to be the fastest way to mobilize capital at at you know at gigaton scale um, so that was the starting point.

James McWalter

Yeah, yeah, it’s it’s so interesting and actually it kind of mirrors. Ah some of kind of my approach to climate tech in interesting way. So when I was none looking at you what part of the economy to kind of tackle from my kind of climate point of view. Initially for the first year of exploring things I completely ignored energy and transport because I was like well we’ve kind of invented most of yeah we’re going to evs are going to win and we have solar and wind and we’re just deploy that and the word just obviously is doing an incredible amount of work there and I basically dramatically kind of understated in my own head like what deploying the.

James McWalter

You know Terrawatts of energy that need to be deployed look like and not just energy but all the other elements of the decarbonization of of those kind of parts of the carbon pie and what I think is really exciting. Is you know I was kind of like attracted to carbon markets and like all all the things that were hot like eighteen months ago I’m now seeing this kind of reversal where people are already starting to dig in and like oh you know deployments? Yeah, any any sort of kind of step change in deployment of a new kind of global technology like that’s where there’s massive opportunities.

Peter Light

Well I agree with that I will say from a um as a you know member of society I’m I’m I’m in the all above all the above camp and you just sort of do the basic carbon math and it is you know it’s staggering and it quickly leads to you know across all the sectors. Um. We we need to mausly decarboize all of them at once? Um, so there’s a great news and that for anyone who’s listening who wants to get into climate tech. There’s something here for you. Um, and there are many you know across many different skill sets not just sort of deep tech engineering. But there know business development sales marketing and so happy to talk more about that software development. Big thing. But I think to focus on the deployment piece that is really what I have gravitated towards young I’ve spent a lot you know much of my career was working on things that I started with a premise that you know early two thousand s you go back in time I came out of the rocky mountain institute and you know. Coal was about 50% of the Us power grid solar and wind were good ideas and were sort of marching down the path but still really expensive relative to the power grid and kind of conventional fossil technologies and I thought like you know, but they’re just I didn’t see those converging anytime soon that mattered and that was you know. Sort of you know joke on me what I’m you know fast forward of what I’m doing now. But at the time I thought there has to be some technology breakthrough that can solve for being both. Um you know, cost effective low or 0 carbon and reliable and um. You know that led me to a bunch of early stage generation technologies I mentioned talk more about um but in that experience. Um I started to see there’s just there’s so much technical risk and in bringing forth a new device. And it has been done and it will continue to be done and it’s a great thing but it really forces the question like hey if there’s stuff that already works and is cost effective. You know my orientation is like let’s get that to the economic frontier and and masss deploy it as quickly as possible and. When you start to look into those issues. There are a lot of really complicated issues and topics around um making it simple and I think this applies to what we’re doing but it also applies to you know, ev adoption you sort of see this in many different sectors. So happy to chat more about that.

James McWalter

Yeah, and so you know once you kind of had that directionally. It’s going to be about the deployment piece and and kind of you know the importance of that there’s a lot of different ways to kind of think through the deployment. Um, but you kind of end up focusing on buildings. Was that thought process and I guess we’re you kind of consider any pivots along the Way. So.

Peter Light

Um, yes, there was a there was a color you know as I joked to some of my colleagues. There’s you know b none and just a very early version where um, again, you had to come back to the frame of looking across an entire city. Um, let’s say like Los Angeles you know all these buildings. Um there today serve by the electric utility which is on. It’s sort of you know, kind of slow decarbonization pathway. Um, you know what I started to look at was like well. That those utilities have their own decarbonization goals. You know, either forced upon them or you know or well-intentioned cost driven. Um, and if you sort of left alone if you sort of let all of these devices proliferate on the grid meaning electric vehicles. Thermostats solar Panels batteries just way too much complexity much more than utilities have ever been set out to to deal with and that really was the sort of founding story behind what is now tapestry that the Google x program is really to sort of build a better real time map and model of the power grid.

Peter Light

But within that same sort of lens I thought you know well hey like wouldn’t these utilities like to have a hand in shaping the direction of the deployment of even a rooftop solar and and onsite batteries that are just that is already happening. And so I started to reach out actually to see utility some of the most kind of forwardleaning ones that were in in California and um, you know and some that had ah that I thought had the most incentive to consider hey might we partner where we lumen would provide the data science on. And and build would talk the individual user data that utilities had where they had the billing and consumption data for each network building and then we could help go ah shape the deployment of onsite energy assets that would then help the utility so this is sort of a converging these you know bring these systems together. Co-optiming them and did a math look like greatd on paper seems like it would help them them be utilities you know and had None or 3 meetings. It started to go really well and it like wow this this great. We’re on to something and then when cold and just.

Peter Light

Didn’t return emails didn’t return phone calls and um, you know if anyone has been on a startup journey. You know who’s listening and you know are you James? That’s um, is so all part of it. But it’s certainly hard to sort of you know to to stomach that but then also it’s like okay this is a data point. Um, if you know some of the most forwardleaning utilities that this notion is just that you have to deal with it. That’s not they’re not wanting what I am seeking to offer them. Um and so it took so it took me a while and I had the great fortune and time of being. David Cohen who’s now my co-founder. Um, he was had been um, had had been a consultant fane and then later a software development and a product leader at stripe for many years and then it coming all snap dos in the you know automating lot of pieces in the mortgage industry. And we started to say okay, there’s there’s a huge market here with commercial buildings. But there’s some barrier and so let’s go find out what that is and it and I’d say together. It took us a while but it really crystallized like it is the building owner who is the decision maker about whether any of this will happen at their building or not. And so let’s work back from how people who own buildings think about getting their energy and so we set out to talk to many building owners and um, we heard again and again and in a sort of range of kind of scale of companies and ownership patterns so they get yeah, it’s great idea like I love. Love saving money that sounds good. You know I love going green that sounds good too and like great why you done it and you know surely you’ve looked into all of this and surprisingly but consistently. We got the answer well you know, actually like I kind of like I just like I do my day job like I you know I work with tenants and I work on. Buying buildings and making sure you know the parking lot is clean and you know working with my bank financing and so like I either I haven’t looked into this but I should. It’s kind of deep on my task list or you know the alternative we got was no, we looked into this a lot like we spent a lot of time on this and. We just got bogged down in the complexity and we like quote had to turn our attention to other things and so you know as part of our customer discovery we. We compiled all these interviews and the consistent pattern was people. It’s interesting. No one used this word but the theme was kind of intimidation or just. Overwhelm um or just I you know I feel like I’m gonna get quote I feel like I’m gonna I have this is too much brain damage. So I don’t get screwed so I’m not going to get into it so that all led us to say well.

Peter Light

What if we could make kind of like a zeestament for clean energy for every building and instantly price it so you could cut through all the data complexity of just figuring out does this make sense for me and provide that in a way that is investment grade and precise and verifiable for the building or and speak in their language. And that is led to led to what we’re developing today.

James McWalter

And what are those kind of I guess Inputs to you know that that kind of estimate type model. But that that you’ve built that is so overwhelming to the building owner. Um you know I’m sure they’re very familiar with you know, managing different types of documents all this kind of thing. Um, but there’s. Yeah,, there’s this extra thing There’s all the kind of associated benefits and incentives and all these things associated to clean energy electrification and so on and so yeah, so what were what are the kind of compounding complexities that ah I guess turned off those building owners and they’re looking for a solution that kind of.

Peter Light

Um, yeah, well, it’s I call it just like a None paper cuts and what I mean by that it’s it’s a many different domains of data that you have to sort of get comfortable with if you if you want to take this on yourself. You you can either just you know said look I just want to. Do something on None building. It’s like then a proposal from someone they I could to get the best deal but to be fine. Just go forward. Um, but if you when you start to say wait. You know I’ve got a none buildings or None buildings or a thousand and I see this as the opportunity to go deploy. What is really a new asset class. Um. And and there’s a real opportunity to um to create a new cash flowing asset and some and this is like the language of a real estate owner who’s who’s thinking about oh I like I I know about deploying capital and getting return on it but I have to do that smartly. And then I need to think through all the inputs and outputs of a financial model. So if you go on that list for let’s just say the simpler ah technology of of a rooftop solar um, you quickly get into okay well, what’s what’s the energy used today at that building. Um. And then what is that composed of and in energy charges demand charges fixed costs from from utility which by the way vary for every utility and about None utilities tariffs across the us. Um, then you get into well okay, what? what How much roof space. Do I have. Um, how much what is the equipment cost What’s the fair price for it, then? what are the incentives do I have tax you know do I have the the correct sort of tax exposure to take advantage of those are there local incentives. Um, what’s the degradation of the equipment. What’s operations and maintenance. How much should I assume over the 105 years and you know that’s that’s I I’ve just given a a sub list I will not boardre the reader with the audience with sort of the additional list but there’s is a long list of disparate domains to get good at and you can sort of is you start to poke into this. You see well.

Peter Light

You know as a customer recently described it to me. It’s like I have found myself digging through all these rabbit holes and I just get lost in them and then I just I switch on other things and so that that like this is touching the climate problem right now is people want to do the right thing and they see a financial opportunity. But it’s too complicated to really get to a decisive moment for them.

James McWalter

And I guess what’s even kind of compounding it is you know you places like New York City who will add some sort of electrification incentive which is great but it’s just now 1 more thing to worry about right? and so when even you have policy that’s trying to incentivize like.

James McWalter

Yeah, mass electrification additional renewable energy deployment all those those kind of things if it’s just like None other thing to to think about and it isn’t like digested in this consumable hole. Um that it actually won’t have like the positive effects that policymakers want and so that makes absolutely you know complete sense to me. Kind of going as you were talking to to those building owners. You’re kind of getting a sense of like this scatter of just like incredible complexity and yeah with your background complexity I’m sure and data complexity is exciting right? because you have worked and used tools like data science and machine learning and so on. That enable you to kind of make sense of that in ways that you know twenty thirty years ago might not even been possible and so I guess you know going from that kind of visual insight to what it like an early mvp in early product deployment. What was that like yeah.

Peter Light Light

Um, yeah, so um, what we what we set out to do in ah in an Mvp where we said. Okay there’s there. You know there are all these different you know, think of it visually like the pieces of the puzzle on a table like how do we? How do we stitch them together into. A a coherent picture for a building owner and um, we we found that? Um, what we started to do is like let’s just pick a city and let’s see if we can um, remotely price each and every commercial building for its clean, energy potential. And and deliver that to the building matters and so we picked Hayward California which um happens to be a place if you ever take off in an airplane out of San Francisco airport and you look out the window and you’ll see lots of big empty rooftops and a number of big warehouses there and we just. Kind of arbitrarily picked it for that reason. Um, and we got really lucky because it turned out the city of Hayward had an open data set about all the buildings and and permit history online which is great. Um, and what we did is we started to assemble um all these dis pieces that I started to describe. Um, we you know in in past lives I had also worked with various us national labs and realized that there was all this building energy data science that had been pioneered on supercomputers. It had been worked conducted by ph ds and and does incredible modeling. But that had been kind of stuck. In in the labs and kind of technically available but in practice not really tapped beyond kind of the academic realm and so we we dug into that and said how can we apply some of this work to really get the best handle on. Profiling buildings and and assessing without actually getting any data from the building owner. How can we get close at assessing what is the energy use in this building all the way down to each and every hour of the year and then getting into the electricity tariffs that were likely for that building and essentially. Simulating the electricity bill for that customer and software. Um, using that as a baseline to then run. Um, you know again in software to run in simulation. Well what would be the optimal the cost optimal clean energy mix for this customer. Um, and we did all that then just to simply produce a number like hey this is that these are the dollars you can save as a building owner and then we deliver that through direct marketing to those building owners and that’s how we started and we found um, you know we were wildly off in some places but we started to. Ah.

Peter Light

And we we we found um some warehouses that had cement garden gnomes in them. But you know, no electricity use you know, but we also found some that were you know food processing facilities that had a lot of electricity use that were very interested and we really got our footing that way and and started to sort of build our engen and and verify the. Data in our cycle and then along the way I’ll just say we were contacted by commercial building owners. Who said you know I don’t have None building but I have a lot of buildings and we have a you know essentially now a board level commitment to deploy clean energy. You know, starting with solar um everywhere it makes sense. But the problem is we just don’t know where it makes sense. We don’t know how to do this systematically and so that’s where we have found actually that there’s been a greatest uptake of of what we provide today.

James McWalter

Yeah there’s a couple areas there. The kind of touch upon. So for some of the data side. Um I said this to folks all the time who are you know trying to build companies that have like a a data component if you can avoid getting having to need data from your customer to build something like re avoid it at all costs. Data that you can collect yourself is to me 10 to None x more valuable than that you can get from the customer at least in the early days because it just takes so long to get data from customers and experiences across a lot of different industries and a lot of different customers and go back to your earlier. You know initial conversations with utilities that was probably honestly like the thing that. Froze some of that you know in those kind of internal discussions and and why they may not have kind of gone back to is okay, we have to go through such a rigmarole to try to get data which often is you know, stored in weird ways and all this kind of thing out to a none party and we have to go through legal and all these kind of things that slow it down. So I love this kind of approach to. Collecting your own data and just dramatically reducing the friction for the business owner and often when you do it this way people are shocked that you can find out more about their own business than they know themselves and it actually has this like ah and you know this really valuable kind eyeopening moment when you’re kind of doing that demo and and and that kind of thing. Um, so I think that. All makes a ton of sense in terms of the ah I guess you know real estate investment trusts and like these large kind of aggregations of commercial buildings I’ve actually talked to a few of those folks myself as part of other projects and they’ve absolutely said the exact same thing to me. It’s like they have this kind of triage approach to decarbonization. You know it’s like we’re going to offload the dirtiest properties we have. We’re going to add solar and electrify. Yeah the 80% like of yeah the 80% of the portfolio that that makes sense and then we’ll do some greenfield development on the other 5 to 10 percent and so if you think about just the number of commercial buildings United States and how many of those are kind of. Aggregated in reits and other you know, similar kind of ah you know, commercial entities commercial real estate entities like that’s to me seems like the massive opportunity and the most exciting opportunity for lumen.

Peter Light

It is I think it is 1 of ah 1 of multiple sectors and it is. It’s it’s a great opportunity for for lumen. But it’s also a great opportunity for these building owners and I think you know just to sort of take an example I mean there’s some um. You know, larger ones who own? Let’s just say many warehouses. Um, you know there’s a there’s ah, a company for instance who owns on the order of about None warehouses nationally and they’re a leader in deploying solar and it’s interesting. You sir just go look at their math. Um, you know I won’t won’t name them by name but just sort give you the example. Um, they’re like yeah we’re doing this. You know we we’ve got a plan and they’re therere thought leaders in it. Um, they’re deploying you in the order of like 40 or 50 buildings a year and that’s both wildly ambitious and yet. Way behind the the sort of scale of what’s possible be profitable. So what I mean by that is okay, that’s a you know none? their buildings would be. You know would get solarized in in 15 years um so that’s where it’s um. Where we think there’s just ah, there’s a chance to go do this. It should be 30 years um and so that’s what we see is the chance to um, really get out of kind of spreadsheets and emails and just all the painful back and forth that happens to coordinate some of these projects and really just. Make it happen at a you know ten x hundred x scale.

James McWalter

Yeah, and as you were saying None oh that’s so exciting like you know you get them running up and running in the next eighteen months and yeah and and for them internally they’re like hitting you know, maybe their internal targets and and taking you know that amount of time. Yeah, what one of the I guess. Levers to speed this up is making sure that the you know if if the demand is there from the business building owners the supply of the underlying. Yeah panels tech of various types are there as well as I’m sure financing is a piece and you mentioned like the the kind of marketplace dynamics that ah you’re kind of. Have as part of loom and could you speak to that.

Peter Light

Sure? Well I’ll say in you know in in general there. There are many marketplaces which we all as sort of individuals and consumers have interacted with today. Um that I think the. Yeah I think one of the stunning things that’s revealed whether it be you know airbnb or uber I mean they’re they’re so familiar. But what’s startling is just the the revealing of supply that the latent supply that existed and we didn’t know it and I think that is something that um that I see here where the um.

Peter Light

You know the ability to go deploy ons site. Clean energy. You know again, starting with solar they’re they’re um, a few 0 contractors nationally and um, this has been one of the you know fastest growing segments of of job industry. Um, that are qualified to do this so. There’s there’s still not enough people that are qualified but the point is that there are many many people out there that can do this. But if you go talk to them. Um, they’ll say look I you know I am a clean energy installer but I have to not only do I have to manage a team and go do get the permits and all that. I have I’m burdened with kind of sales and marketing and customer development and and walking these building owners through all these choices and so I do all this engineering work I submit None proposals 8 of them. Go nowhere. And so for them that is a real cost and that effectively inflates the the sort of total delivered cost because that’s all just sort of overhead for these um Epc companies or engineering procurement construction companies and so what we’re seeking to do with women energy is make it really easy for them to get to. Um, a known vetted project and really provide them digitally with the pieces that they need um to be able to quickly go bid on and act on a project and so that has a benefit for the local installers. Um, who who tend to be local and tend to know all the local building codes and and kind of all these these attributes that are kind of hard to make happen nationally or to scale nationally and then for the building owners. We find this notion of a the efficiency of a marketplace is very appealing because. They realize that they’ve looked at the math themselves where um, you know a whole bit of it out. A great post on the New York Times about this recently you look at the the cost of solar deployment in Australia is just a fraction of what it is in the us today and it’s you know the great news is that the harbor costs have fallen dramatically. Um, but the soft costs meaning the everything else profit overhead construction costs are very high in the us they can be over 50% of the project costs and they vary widely from project to project. So if you sort of put yourself in a building. Owner’s shoes as. You know as we did on some of our early projects in California we we did all the math got very precise about how many panels could fit on the roof. What is the exact optimal amount of onsite, clean energy solar batteries for that given load profile tariff all of that and then we set it out to bid and we got bids that were all over the place.

Peter Light

And it was startling to see how inefficient that process was so that’s something that we are really seeking to streamline through a marketplace in the None of 3 stages of our our product platform that we call act.

James McWalter

And so and then and you know I’ve actually talked to quite a few. Ah yeah, hchfac installers in New York as part of other conversations and so on and they’ve they’ve spoken to this exact issue where because they’re trying to move into a so yeah, know the skill sets are.

28:49.46

James McWalter

Identical to what they’ve been doing you know solving Ac units for 30 years um but moving to installing heat pumps. The tech is nerdy identical but the model and the structure and the components are a bit different. The supply chains are a bit different how to actually converse with the ah you know the owner of the buildings a bit different. And so because there’s all all those little frictions and it goes back to the frictions that the the building owner themselves. Also you know, kind of have to manage. Um again, directing and and reducing those frictions is like so core I guess to your approach. But yeah I’d love to kind of touch upon the the kind of none part of the product which I guess is the financing side.

Peter Light

Um, ah, yes, so and so financing is a key piece of um I think of of really deploying any any clean energy technology is it is that I was talking something of the other day that that you know structured finance or project finance is this sort of like. Poorly understood part of that just like runs the world of infrastructure deployment and um in in the case of um, you know energy you know energy assets let’s take this wind or solar in particular where there’s zero fuel cost. Um, and you’re you’re. your your sense you’re buying equipment that will generate energy for twenty thirty forty years upfront and you’re you’re paying for all that capex upfront. So it is um, it’s it’s amazing, long term but it really needs to be financed. Um and and especially for um. You know in our case, putting yourself in the shoes of building owners people are used to paying the utility month by month and it’s you know that that’s the grand bargain with with the utilities having a monopoly utility who can serve an end customer and there’s really just kind of a mostly non-negotiable price. But you is a. You know as a building owner you have the freedom to just stop paying and leave at the end of the month and that’s it um, and then you’re faced with this alternative which is wow like I see that you know electric utility rates went up None nationally in the last twelve months which is just startling. Um, you know above the the very high cpi. So people get there’s this economic opportunity. But then you get into well I you know I don’t I don’t want to use my own cash or rarely do people want to use their own cash to go pay for something that feels like outside of their business. Um, so you you know most roads lead to financing clean energy assets. Um, so there you get into kind of a you know, multiple different options and and I think this is again where people get high centered where um, you know particularly people in real estate who are very familiar with financing and want to understand all of the options. Um, there are the typical options of of cash purchase or a loan or you know the the conventional ppa which we can talk more about there’s also on bill financing called pace financing in some places but these you know each of these has has wiggles and turns and um, you know. Special considerations for for qualifying for the investment tax credit and it just it calls upon a specialty. So what we seek to do as a company is provide building owners with the options and is and just clear as transparent as possible.

Peter Light

Along with an easy button to say hey I just want clean energy Cheaperth and grid and so we have None party financing partners that enable us to do that. But we don’t We don’t sort of we’re seeking to give building owners the choice in a transparent way. Um, with the kind of answer upfront and they can go dig all the way down to to bare metal so to speak in in the models if they want to understand all the pieces behind the scenes.

James McWalter

And I would absolutely encourage any you know building owners to check out the lumen website like the actual flow and the ability to kind of immediately. You know, get insight over what’s possible I think it’s very very slick and better than ah I’ve seen on you know, a lot of products that are trying to solve similar types problems. Um, and so yes, so I guess where is luoman today and what are the kind of target over the next 12 to None months.

Peter Light

Um, yeah, well where we are today is um, we are a technology team based in San Francisco though we’re remote first we had people um in in Brazil Uganda um, you know we have teams overseas in India so we’re. We’re really already just as a company. We’re already you know around the world. Um, and then in terms of where we are commercially we’re working with a number of commercial building owners now who um, really have a bold commitment to decarbonize and they want to do it profitably and. And I think they’re starting to see the potential um to to realize that and they so there it’s it’s really interesting I mean yeah, I’ll share a conversation that I had recently um, with a a large industrial reit. Um and they had advertised on their website. You know you know. Many real estate websites have like big bold numbers and they’re they’re kind of their their flex numbers and None of them was um that they had I think one point one billion dollars of of basically rent every year from their tenants and we looked at all our buildings just kind of in our software did the math and like you know what you have. Your tenants are buying on the order of about $1000000000 of electricity each year. So you know so for your marquee number of what you see as your revenue as a company that today is being spent by your tenants and going out the door not to you. So. Wouldn’t you like to consider that as as part of your p and l essentially one day and do that sensibly like it’s not going to work everywhere. You can’t just go deploy solar and clean energy like you will you will waste money if you do that you have to do it smartly. But if you do do it smartly. It really is a new asset class commensurate with the scale of your existing business. And so I think there are companies that are starting to see that. Um we are we are quite busy as a team. We’re growing. Um and we’re we’re having a lot of fun doing that and I would just say from a the last thing just from a company building perspective. We’re seeking to be very deliberate and. Bringing people aboard who really loved the problem. You know, fall in love with the problem and want the responsibility to sort of own a key piece of advancing our company and I think you know like that sort of freedom and opportunity that that come along with that.

James McWalter

Yeah, yeah, I Love this example that that you mentioned you know, being able to go into any sort of sales call sales demo conversation with a potential customer and have something so specific to their use case that it’s nearly being crazy for them not to move forward I like is it’s such a kind of.

Peter Light

No.

James McWalter

You know a powerful way to kind of think through through and you know as any startup starts to build capabilities across their core problem solution Set. You actually do start to develop these opportunities to bring that directly into sales calls marketing. All those kind of things. Um, you know one of my kind of favorite marketing tactics that a lot of cool startups do is users. You know their tech to identify some sort of metric or number and then start running that metric against potential customers and say hey customer Yeah you think you’re X but you’re actually y would you be interested in trying to get to x. And that could be everything from you know your employee engagement score to your? Ah, you know how green you actually are from a clean energy electrification deployment point of view and so I Actually yeah, loved that kind of take and bringing that directly into the go-to-market.

Peter Light

Um, well that’s that’s good to hear and I think that’s something that that we’ve seen that has been powerful is that that reveal. Ah I’ll say also um, you know there are number companies out that um, that are doing a great job I say at making carbon accounting dashboards. Um, and then. Those dashboards often leads to buying carbon offsets which um I think is is in one sense progress. Um though I think I just have a I arrive at that scenario and I say you know those those offsets and person person and particularly you know. Carbon reduction offsets which I think as a society again we should have like we should be pursuing carbon removal but the you know the long run goal is that those reach kind of like a hundred dollars a ton so you just sort of stare at that. Reality and say wow that’s the long run technology goal with a lot of investment still to come and a lot of derisking still to happen. Meanwhile there are things people could do today that are carbon reducing and profitable for those businesses. So like let’s do all of those things none and I think that’s where you know we as a company are setting out to say how do we How do we reveal that in a way that almost it’s like creating you know you know, ah this sort of ah you know a tractor or this sort of know gravity field that makes it easy for capital to flow into um these places where where it actually wants to go.

James McWalter

And it it goes back to very beginning of our conversation and and you mentioned you know having like ah all of the above portfolio like mindset in terms of solving these problems and I also think and I agree with that. But I also think about that it kind of goes to the timing piece. It’s like yeah one of the reasons deployment is so important right now of what we have already. Invented and and have commercialized is to buy time for some of those other you know more moonshot longer range things to get to commercialization and so you know I personally think we’re going to need a ton of direct air capture. But it’s not going to be ready for 12 years potentially maybe longer and so everything we do now buys us years or buys this time. On the backend for when these technologies hopefully get get to the deployment they need to get to. Um Peter Light it’s not so brilliant kind of talk to you before we finish off is there anything I should have asked you about but did not so.

Peter Light

Well I will say that. Um, first. Thank you James and I say you know secondly that we are um we are actively hiring limited energy so you can check out our website http://gotlumin.com or or limit that energy one and you’ll you can see the careers page of you know, software development sales marketing. Um, a whole number of areas. Um, and ah you know I think something that I’ll I’ll leave you with is you know buildings are persistent and you know most of the buildings that will exist in 2050 or by you know, anyone’s net zero time horizon most of those buildings are have already been built and so. And further most of those buildings as vehicles electrify those buildings will become hubs or part of the system that can power our transportation and so I think that’s tremendously exciting but it also puts a lot of pressure on saying how can you find ways to. Decarbonized buildings and if you can do it profitably. That’s that’s phenomenal because that is going to be catalytic to make it happen at speed.

James McWalter

I couldn’t agree more um and a great message to end and will include ah the careers page in the show notes. Thank you Peter!

Peter Light

Thank you James take care.

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