How IT can give us a Helping Hand
To get the best from Energy Local, we are working to develop IT to give everyone a helping hand. To start with in the Cyd Ynni trial, each household will have a webpage where they can see when they are using power half-hour by half-hour and forecast hydro generation. It will show when is a good time to use power. So members of the Energy Local Club can work together, it will also show the total club’s electricity use.
Eventually we would like to provide a home energy management system and even offer other services in home to make life easier.
Home Energy Management System
In the Swell Trial, to help you get the best deal from Time of Use prices and to use as much local generation as possible we are supporting Exergy Devices to develop a Home Energy Management System that will work with Energy Local. It gives you a helping hand in managing your energy use and shares out local generation that is pooled within the Energy Local Club. We are building on this to develop a system for Energy Local Clubs in future.
It automatically controls some appliances in your home so you don’t have to worry about switching them on and off at the right times. It gives you information about when is a good time to use power.
What Goes Into Your Home
This is how you drive the system!
It tells you
- When it is cheap to use power either because the price from the supplier is low or because there is lots of local generation.
- How much power you have been using and when
- Information about appliances that are controlled automatically – for example how hot is your water if you have an electric immersion heater.
The display is where you input information for appliances you want it to control.
You can use a laptop, smart phone or tablet to view the display.
It communicates with the in house controller via wifi.
In house controller
This is the brains behind the system even though it is only the size of a lunch box! It can switch the appliances you choose – you are the one in control. It finds the best time for them to be used whilst ensuring your needs are met and your home is comfy. It collects data on when you use power and how much power is generated if you have solar panels. It receives data from a central server that tells it is a good time to use power.
Control for appliances
At the moment controllable appliances are storage heaters, a plug socket, immersion heaters for hot water. In future we would like to be able to let you control your washing machine, dishwasher or anything else you suggest!
To make sure you benefit as much as possible, the system measures your power use and any generation – in future this information could be gathered by your smart meter. In future, if you want to control your hot water it measures the hot water temperature; to control storage heaters it monitors room temperature.
The Central Server
This is where information from everyone in the Energy Local Club is gathered to ensure that you all get the best deal. It takes in the weather forecast, time of use prices for power and the patterns of generation and use within the Energy Local Club. Using this information it sends out signals to let each in house controller know when are a good and bad times to use power.
We are working to have the whole system wireless even for the prototype. This will mean the installation will be quick and easy.
You need a broadband connection to use the system, we are working on providing basic inforamtion without it.