Why Smart Home Energy Data Is Key to Hooking Consumers
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
Smart home devices live largely in their own silos, each with its own installation process, app and algorithms. Companies are racing to address this problem by creating integrated home security and energy management platforms to boost consumer value and peace of mind. Real-time data – energy data in particular – is key to achieving this vision, and hooking customers for life.
The concept of using electric vehicles as a grid resource is no longer just theory. A pilot program recently conducted by BMW and PG&E successfully demonstrated that electric vehicles can serve as reliable and flexible grid assets, which could eventually save money for both utilities and EV owners. The BMW i ChargeForward Project is one of the best examples to date of a utility and an automaker working together to develop new technologies and use cases for electric vehicles and their batteries.
Illinois State University is helping area teachers and students learn about smart grid tech through its Smart Grid for Schools program. The university received a $450,000 grant from ISEIF for the program, which is free to schools. In order to give students hands-on learning opportunities, the program built transportable replications of different rooms in a house that feature smart home technology.
SEPA has named PSE&G its 2017 Investor Owned Utility of the Year. In announcing the award, SEPA recognized PSE&G for its ongoing commitment to increasing the amount of solar power in New Jersey and specifically lauded the utility's work to build solar farms on landfills and brownfields in the state through its Solar 4 All program.
Britain ruled the world on its army’s adage that “proper planning prevents poor performance.” California’s SMUD is taking that idea to its distribution system. A recent SMUD estimate found customers and third-party developers spend from $150 million to $200 million annually on distributed energy resources in its territory, which is more than the utility is investing in utility-scale renewables to meet the state’s 50% renewables by 2030 mandate.
Tesla-branded solar panels have officially arrived in Tesla stores, marking another step in Tesla's ongoing integration with SolarCity. In an SEC filing from March 1, the company stated: "We plan to reduce customer acquisition costs by cutting advertising spend and increasingly selling solar products in Tesla stores." Tesla said it began offering solar products and services "in select stores" as of the first quarter of 2017.
The District of Columbia has launched a new program, Solar Works DC, which aims to train residents to work in the industry while also boosting the city's renewable energy capacity. The program was developed by the District's Department of Energy & Environment and the Department of Employment Services. The program runs three years, and will train more than 200 District residents and install solar systems on up to 300 low-income, single family homes in the city.
This may sound a little repetitive, but it's impossible to ignore: the decline in solar costs is not slowing down. GTM Research expects a 27 percent drop in average global project prices by 2022, or about 4.4 percent each year. Those improvements are not limited to the U.S. They are occurring globally and, in some cases, resulting in even sharper price declines than America is experiencing.