• Solar Plus Storage
  • Residential Solar
  • Home Energy Management
  • Digital Utility Strategies
  • Smart Devices

New Edge Controls Emerge in Home Energy Management

Daniel Talero
Nov 24, 2020

Guidehouse Insights

Home energy management’s digital transformation is accelerating. For example, Schneider Electric recently launched InsightHome, a smart edge device and app-based system that enables homeowners with rooftop solar and onsite storage to optimize their energy use.

The InsightHome system is targeted at single-family homes with up to 26 kW of storage. Once installed, homeowners can monitor energy performance in real time via an internet-connected device and see how much money they are saving and the amount of reduced carbon emissions. The InsightHome system also enables solar installers to better manage their portfolio of installations. The company says that installers can reduce their site visits by up to 50% due to the system’s remote management features.

Using Devices to Manage Power at the Grid Edge

A different edge device has the potential to overcome challenges that grid operators face when managing energy generated by residential rooftop solar systems. Researchers at Texas A&M University have designed a new smart device that improves the flow and control of energy between the grid and residential solar-powered systems. Called power electronics intelligence at the network edge (or PINE), the device helps smooth voltage differences between home solar systems and the grid, acting like an intelligent energy router, as one of the researchers described it.

The PINE device also allows utilities to wirelessly program how much grid power reaches solar-powered homes under specific scenarios, particularly during outages caused by storms or natural disasters. This capability is important because utilities have little control over the amount of grid electricity consumed by solar-powered homes, potentially leading to shortages during natural disasters when supply is diverted from essential services. Grid voltage fluctuations can interfere with connected devices in homes, and rooftop panel current directed to the grid can have irregularities that affect the quality of grid power as well.

These two edge technologies could help remove some of the restraints on the home energy management market. On the homeowner side, solar storage system adoption has been somewhat constrained by challenging installations and operational issues requiring frequent truck rolls. The InsightHome system reduces these hurdles. On the utility side, PINE has the potential to alleviate problems during outages when residential solar and storage resources need to be skillfully managed to bring a grid back into balance. For more information on home energy management, see Guidehouse Insights’ recent report, Market Data: Residential Energy Management Systems.