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Solar Smart Homes: IoT Enables Powerful Energy Integration

Solar Smart Homes: IoT Enables Powerful Energy Integration

As we discussed in a recent blog, when the Internet of Things (IoT) meets solar power it enables efficient, effective energy consumption in the buildings where we live and work. The interconnection of devices that we use to facilitate our daily lives provides the opportunity to better understand and control our power use. Through networked capabilities and shared data, IoT solutions show us the future of holistic energy generation and implementation.

While integrated “smart” homes are becoming more accessible than ever before, many of us still don’t fully understand what they look like in practice. Let’s examine the possibilities that are created when solar power and IoT devices combine in our homes - making our lives easier, giving us greater control over our power consumption, and moderating energy use for greater efficiency and lower costs.

Smart Homes Make it Easy

How is a smart home different than any other? By leveraging interconnected devices (the Internet of Things) to create a network that can communicate and gather data through a centralized controller. As a concept drawing produced by WISE Power shows, solar or other alternative energy sources can be connected to a battery storage system (which may also be grid-connected), which then powers an array of home appliances through a control unit.

This means that everything from lighting and computers to thermostats and sprinkler systems and even home security systems can all be controlled through a central hub. The controller is the primary IoT component, gathering data about power use and communicating between devices to ensure that a home isn’t exceeding its capacity to provide the energy it needs. For homeowners, the controller makes it easy to direct various devices (including appliances) from their cell phone. Was the TV left on or the garage door left open? Just check your phone and make the fix from anywhere.

Smart Homes Give Us Power

Putting greater control into the hands of homeowners is only one part of the smart home equation. Interconnected devices are able to share information about energy usage and provide accessible, actionable information that gives homeowners the ability to better moderate energy use. By automating parts of their smart home system, users can prioritize energy efficiency without walking through the house to check which appliances are running, or even being at home at all.

This automation provides convenience and ease, but also greater control. As Energy Matters suggests, “Imagine having a garden irrigation system that responds to current weather conditions and a thermostat you can control while you’re away from home, so your house is at a comfortable temperature when you return.” And if homeowners would prefer to spend less time thinking about how things are going at home, “A modern system will also learn from your configurations and habits, operating silently and seamlessly in the background; making some dreary and repetitive tasks just things of the past.”

Smart Homes Use Less Energy

The most important achievement of a smart home system from an energy perspective is that these buildings are able to create energy efficiency at a level that was previously impossible. Because all or most major appliances can be networked and communicate their energy needs to a central hub, a smart home can prioritize vital systems and eliminate waste from devices that aren’t currently needed or in use.

Energy Matters provides a great example - “you may want to run your washing machine during the day; but this is when electricity is most expensive. An automated home could “instruct” a washing machine to only turn on if the weather is favourable for solar electricity generation and/or your battery system has sufficient charge to support the cycle.” As a result...

Smart Homes Save Money

By enabling greater efficiency and effectiveness, smart home systems reduce a home’s impact on the environment and also save homeowners money. While they are capable of creating savings in any region, they may be especially effective in areas where energy prices frequently fluctuate or consumers experience significant demand charges by enabling automated peak shaving protocols.

The costs of smart home systems and connected devices continue to fall, as do the up-front costs of solar-plus-storage systems, making this a great time to implement both for homeowners who are eager to start seeing savings on their energy bill.

Would you like to live in a smart home and experience the benefits they provide? To learn more about our solar-plus-storage solutions and smart home recommendations, contact us today!

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Bob Solger is Mr. Solar to the Kansas City region. With a passion to forge change and be green well before it was cool to do so, Bob has led the regional market as an engineer and spokesperson for the adoption of solar energy. He completes his projects professionally and continues to inspire by teaching others how to get the most from solar installations.

Ace Wagner

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