Category: Residential Generation
In off-grid energy storage, traditionally, we asked the consumer to act as though they are their own utility company. In modern, evolving grid-hybrid energy management, we ask the consumer to partner with and engage with their utility company through The Smart Home in novel and exciting and accessible means to take charge of their energy consumption and production.
The Smart Home. It’s not a voice-activated DJ, weather reporter, cooking assistant. It’s not turning on the heat and lights before you get home. It’s not going to stop at ordering more orange juice, dog food, or cat litter when you’re running low. It’s so much more. It’s the inverter acting to monitor, report, and provide power to consumers when and where they want it. A smart home system is part of a secure forum for the utility company to provide power to ratepayers from the most cost-effective energy resource available.
According to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables’s quarterly report on US. Energy Storage, by the end of 2020, there will be more than 300 MW of residential behind-the-meter PV installed as a Distributed Energy Resource (DER) with onsite energy storage. This is a modest yet significant step towards the customer-empowered future of a Home Operating System described by Ankit Saraf and Michael Jochum in their SEPA 51st State Initiative paper on The Decentralized Grid.
Homeowners are asking installers and their utility company to connect residential solar plus storage to the grid because they want onsite backup power and because they have financial justification to store renewable energy when it is cheap and abundant and then use it to power their home when energy is more expensive and less abundant.
These new Smart Inverter (SI) energy management systems are internet-connected appliances. They will play a key role in coordination and communication between the utility and homeowner. To quote Saraf and Jochum, “The Home Operating System will become even more effective when the home has DER. If the DER is a generator, the system will decide when to turn it on (if it is dispatchable), or when to switch between using its power on-site versus selling to the grid.” They will allow the homeowner to interface with them from touch screens, tablets, laptops, and through voice-controlled smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and other devices from Google, Apple, etc.
Bo Magluyan– Director of Product Manager, OutBack Power