In a world first trial, a selection of Perth homes with solar panels are being offered the latest technology that shows how much they are importing or exporting from the electricity grid at any point in time.
Using a wireless home area network created by a ‘smart’ household electricity meter, homeowners will be able to look at a portable display which shows them how much electricity they are using, or sending into the grid.\
“Currently householders receive a bill on average every 60 days which doesn’t give them much opportunity to manage their electricity use, so we want to see if having a display in the kitchen or living room, showing the real time flow of electricity into or out of the home affects people’s choices about electricity use”, said Andrew Blaver - Program Manager of Perth Solar City – WA’s largest energy efficiency initiative.
Western Power and Synergy are currently conducting the trial involving 700 new generation In Home Displays (IHD’s) as part of the Perth Solar City program. This roll-out is in addition to the 1500 IHDs already issued under PSC that showed the amount of energy a house was using, and how much it was costing in real time but did not show if a house was using its own generated power or importing it.
“The benefits of this latest technology is that it calculates in real time the amount of power that the house is currently taking from or exporting to the grid – so on a sunny day a householder can immediately see if they are using any electricity from the grid, and whether turning off an appliance reduces their reliance on electricity from the grid. This display enables the householder to make better choices about electricity use”, he said.
“This is world leading technology being offered that enables customers and the network to interact so that customers get information when they want it about their use of energy and the network gets visibility of the flow of electricity to better manage the system. It is currently only being offered to homes in the PSC trial which is being run in Perth’s eastern suburbs” Mr. Blaver said.
“Customers with solar panels are very energy aware, and this device provides instant detail about the performance of their generation system, as well as their own energy use.
“We’ve found that people with solar panels are interested in increasing their potential savings so we anticipate this will be a much liked tool that enables them to maximise the benefit of the solar panels”, Mr Blaver said.