Emergence of the Solar & Battery Powered Smart Home

All solar households across Australia can now enhance their energy efficiency and grid independence by adopting the “smart home” concept to explore the various home automation options.

A smart home automates the control of appliances remotely through the internet using electronic devices such as a cell phone; tablet etc., and these “IoT” appliances are compatible and can work together with a solar power system.

The uptake of smart inverters and solar battery storage systems rapidly increased in 2016, enabling easy monitoring of solar panel systems from any location with an internet connection. Both inverters and batteries have become important components of the trending online ecosystem—the Internet of Things (IoT).

Any appliance running in a smart home powered by solar and battery storage system can be instructed to operate at daytime when solar energy generation conditions are favourable, or when energy storage capacity in a home battery is adequate.

In essence, power-hungry appliances can function during peak times when electricity rates are higher, only using either direct solar or stored energy. This can happen seamlessly, allowing the homeowner to exercise as much or as little control over their energy.

Over time and through smart algorithms, these innovative systems learn human habits and continuously tweak and optimise a household’s energy efficiency.

What’s even more exciting about a smart home is that a household doesn’t have to replace all its appliances; but only install more user-friendly and low-cost add-on technology. In this scenario, instead of having countless remotes all over the house, a homeowner will only need a single smart app to control their appliances.

The smart homes idea is not a third-generation or far-off innovation; it’s already here with us. For instance, our own Asia Pacific region has already embraced home automation and the technology has really taken off.

Based on a report by Statista, the Asia Pacific accounts for the biggest share of smart connected major home appliances shipments (at 65% in 2014). With the rapidly growing Asia Pacific market, achieving the 68% market share target in 2020 is possible even as home automation gets underway in other parts of the world.

This milestone is only a drop in the ocean of the energy efficiency and convenience brought by home automation—a technology that will see our lives become more comfortable, connected and energy efficient.

IMAGE via Alan Levine

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The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

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