The sensible house in focus – pv journal Worldwide

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pv magazine - Photovoltaics Markets and Technology

From Growatt Special Edition 2020

Generators for residential and commercial power units are at the epicenter of the new era of communicable belts and two-way power flow management. The question that arises for households and businesses is where the new energy future stands.

This trend is reinforced today by the current regulatory response to lowering the cost of solar systems. Where decentralized energy generation was previously required by government subsidy programs (in particular through the feed-in tariff mechanism, which provided the PV owners on the roof with a stable income for all the electricity generated), the regulatory authorities now prescribe a market-oriented approach.

According to the new market approach, projects for distributed energy resources (DER) are only remunerated for the amount of electricity exported into the grid, usually for a very low export rate. However, the latter is not always guaranteed. For example, many countries have self-consumption rules that allow households to generate solar energy for their own consumption without paying for potential export electricity into the grid. The more self-generated solar power is consumed, the more profitable a solar system becomes for households or small businesses. What is the optimal and most profitable way to use solar energy? And how can producers consume more self-generated solar energy?

Matching operations with information technology

Energy analysts agree that the answer to these questions will include a more integrated, intelligent offering that includes solar systems combined with energy storage, EV charging, heating, demand response and energy efficiency.

The UK’s Renewable Energy Association (REA) is actively committed to developing decentralized systems that include more than just solar power, energy storage and electric vehicles, says Frank Gordon, policy director at REA. “We have called for more renewable and clean technologies to be included in the Future Homes Standard [a policy package] Linking electricity and traffic, but also heat from 2025. “

The GroHome solution from Growatt does exactly that: It integrates a solar PV energy system with energy storage devices, EV chargers, water heaters and Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as smart plugs, thermostats and air conditioning.

During the optimal hours of sunshine, the solar energy is automatically consumed by household appliances via IoT devices. Sometimes the excess solar energy is not fully used and in these cases it can be stored in the battery storage system for later consumption. This energy could even be converted as usable heat into thermal energy in order to increase self-consumption considerably.

The GroHome solution brings the role of decentralized generation to the fore in the energy transition. It connects all the hardware such as solar modules, inverters, battery storage and smart appliances with the software such as smart monitoring apps. GroHome integrates the hardware and software and matches the operational efficiency with the information technology in a uniform, consumer-friendly system. Growatt achieves this through remote controls, intelligent energy management, multi-zone controls and a hotkey app.

The GroHome solution

Growatt’s ShinePhone app collects all previously logged functions and allows the user to control household appliances with a single touch of a button.

Photo: Growatt

Homeowners can remotely control, switch on and off the household appliances connected to the GroHome system. The intelligent energy management system offers GroHome owners the opportunity to promote a smarter life. For example, garden lights can automatically turn off at 6 a.m. when your alarm goes off. With the GroHome multi-zone control function, customers can intelligently monitor the different areas of a house and create an individual energy model for each area in order to apply the most intelligent energy saving strategy. And finally, ShinePhone, the Growatt hotkey app, collects all previously logged functions in gadgets and enables the app user to control the home appliances with a single touch of a button.

A complex set of IoT devices amplifies these processes to enable GroHome’s intelligent solution. Compared to a conventional switch, the wireless GroPlug and GroPanel calculate the power consumption of the connected devices remotely. Similarly, the large thermostat is used to regulate the temperature of the floor or the water heater in order to keep a room and household at comfortable temperatures while minimizing energy consumption. Finally, Air-Condition Mate offers remote control options for air conditioning systems and even an analysis of power consumption.

All in all, the GroHome solution offers homeowners a combination of intelligent solar energy generation and energy efficiency that increases a household’s own consumption of PV electricity and at the same time reduces the total energy consumption of the household in order to achieve a 100% green electricity supply for their houses.

Completely clean: conversion to 100%

Growatt defines a key strategy with its GroHome system: Linking solar energy with IoT household appliances to support a zero export model for solar energy into the grid. If solar panels generate more energy than a household consumes at any given time, GroHome automatically activates a homeowner’s smart IoT devices to avoid unnecessary export of self-generated electricity to the grid, and instead uses the extra electricity to run the devices House to load. This strategically reduces electricity bills and results in a greener home.

Savings and environmental benefits can be further optimized with the GroHome software if, in addition to the PV system, battery storage, EV charging and heat storage are used. Batteries store excess electricity during the day and make it available for consumption at night. Electric vehicles can support transportation in green mode and also be used as an additional larger storage option. In addition, heat storage heaters such as electric boilers typically also have sufficient capacity to store some of the excess solar energy as usable heat.

Bring it together

A practical example: If a battery system is fully charged during the hours of sunshine and the solar modules continue to generate energy, the GroPlug is automatically activated instead of exporting the excess electricity for a low export tariff or even free of charge to the grid in order to pump water to the swimming pool, washing machine or to power or control other household appliances. If there is insufficient solar energy at a later point in time, the battery system is discharged to provide power to the loads. As a result, some of the consumption could be shifted from the evening to hours of sunlight.

In addition, GroBoost, one of GroHome’s processes, can convert excess solar energy into usable heat. While a homeowner would typically set the electric boiler’s timer to be powered during night tariffs to save electricity, GroBoost can intelligently control heating elements to provide hot water to boilers. In the presence of an EV charger, the GroHome system can use the excess energy to charge the EV at any time of the day. All these activities, both when storing solar energy and when using IoT devices, are graphically displayed via the ShinePhone app and show the energy flow, clear energy data and the status of GroHome devices.

What does this mean for the future of rooftop PV? The prognosis looks good. Churches around the world have started exchanging and trading electricity on a peer-to-peer basis. As the world’s energy systems become more decentralized and export tariffs lower, homeowners increase their power. And GroHome households will be better equipped to take advantage of the digital future and trading patterns.

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