Congratulation! You've got solar! But is it smart?
A lot of people who have solar don't realize that there's so much more possible with their system. They're not aware that they can save more on their energy bill, lessen their carbon footprint, and make running their home simpler.
A solar system that is 'smart' is one that reveals both your home’s energy consumption and its solar energy production.
This means that smart solar goes beyond monitoring – it provides control and shows ‘the big picture view’ of your energy consumption patterns and habits. Currently, only a small percentage of American households with solar systems are equipped with ‘smart’ technology, even though installation cost is very affordable and it offers a number of benefits.
You need insights to maximize the value of your solar
The typical solar household will usually sell more than 50% of the solar energy it produces back to the grid! However, if you use that energy instead you can significantly increase the value of the energy generated by your PV system.
But in order to do that you first need to know what your solar is actually doing. Only then are you able to take action.
Solar without monitoring and control is like driving blind
Did you know that 25% of solar system owners state that they have had problems with their systems, according to surveys done in both the UK and Australia? The main reason for this is that the majority of households with solar around the world lack any insights into their household energy consumption patterns or solar energy production.
Owning a PV system that lacks monitoring and control capabilities is like owning a car with no dashboard, steering wheel, or windows. Without monitoring, the most you can do is assume that your solar system is working correctly, only finding out what's really happening when your next electric bill comes in the mail. Without control it's impossible for you to take action to maximize the value of your solar energy.
What is smart solar?
Typically, the word ‘smart’ is used to describe any device that is responsive and connected, able to communicate over the Internet. It usually refers to some ordinary electronic device, like a phone or a washing machine, that has been amped up with smart tech.
However, were you aware that you can optimize the usage of the smart devices in your home by controlling them remotely via your computer or smart phone?
Technology like naak allows you to turn on your heat before you come home or switch off the lights or a pool pump when they’re not needed.
Three capabilities a smart solar system gives you:
- The ability to monitor solar energy production and performance from anywhere that has internet or mobile phone access;
- The power to control devices in your home so that you can optimize the value of the solar energy produced; and
- Complete access to visibility and insights into your energy production and consumption that allow you to simultaneously lower your energy consumption and maximize the value of your solar investment.
Smart solar does not always mean a monitoring & energy management system
Solar needs the right software and the right equipment to be smart. It doesn't come that way by default.
So what exactly transforms an ordinary PV system into a smart one? Generally, it's either a solar monitoring system or a home energy management system. But neither of these makes a solar system smart on its own.
An off-the-shelf solar monitoring system is easy to get. It'll give you data about how much energy your solar system is producing – but no insight into your energy consumption. Plus, it tends to lack the power to ‘control’ your energy usage.
Conversely, a home energy management system (i.e. Apple Home) will usually give you control over your household devices. But it won't give you information about your solar system's production, nor data about how to improve your home’s overall energy efficiency - like insights about how to maximize your solar usage or reduce your overall energy consumption.
In theory you could install a solar monitoring system alongside a home energy management system to try to magically generate ‘smart solar’, but the results are likely to be unwieldy and limited. You'd find yourself constantly toggling between different apps or platforms in at attempt to cobble together some understanding about your energy usage habits and how they line up with your solar production.
The first step towards taking real action that will lower your electricity bill is understanding your energy use habits. But this can be difficult to achieve without your solar production, energy consumption and control panels in one place; in a single platform.
naak is that platform
By making your solar system smarter in all-in-one package, naak marries the visibility of a solar monitoring system to the control and insights of an energy management system. This perfect synergy means that naak is able to make suggestions for you – based on your consumption habits. It also means that you can quickly and easily improve your energy consumption patterns and fully take advantage of your solar energy production.