Better energy

Managing your solar smartly - and remotely

Managing solar with a smartphone app

It may sound like sci-fi, but in the world we now live in, coffee machines can co-ordinate with alarm clocks and thermostats can sync with our smartphones to perfectly cool or warm our houses while we're on the way home.

Today, our electronic household appliances are increasingly connected through the Internet of Things (IoT), with more and more of our gadgets able to share information with each other and be controlled remotely through smartphones and tablets. The future is here and it's made it possible to streamline the daily functions of our homes and our energy usage – including your solar system.

How to save energy in your home

If you want to cut down on electricity from the grid to lower emissions and save money each month, you need to understand and control where and when you use your energy. IoT makes it possible to fine-tune our usage.

There are numerous tools to track and adjust electricity consumption throughout your home. Software for smart, connected homes can help save money by alerting you to unexpected electricity spikes and identifying the cause and solution. For instance, an ageing dryer could be using more energy than a younger model, and leaving TVs and laptops on standby is wasting significant amounts of energy.

Getting value from your solar power system

For solar panel owners, managing energy effectively is perhaps even more important. In Australia, solar electricity can now provide a cheaper source of electricity than the grid. But, as solar panels create most of their power during the day when homeowners aren't typically around to use it, excess solar energy must either be stored in a solar battery or sold to the grid only to be bought back again after nightfall.

The advantage of using a solar smart meter

Solar battery is a good example of a smarter way to use solar power systems and get more out of what you generate. Recent leaps and bounds in technology are lowering the cost of solar batteries and making them an increasingly viable option for many people. Adding storage to a home solar power system lets you save excess energy for later, reducing reliance on the grid at peak times and saving you money on your energy bill. The introduction of smart meters has made this adjustment of bills possible, as it's now easy to track how much energy is being imported or exported by each household from and to the electricity grid.

Smart meters have also enabled an exciting new way of buying and selling solar energy to emerge: peer-to-peer energy trading. Peer-to-peer energy trading is when consumers buy, sell or swap excess solar power directly with their local friends and neighbours rather than with the grid. Each participating household connects its smart meter to a data system that finds customers at appropriate intervals and joins them, logging traded energy, and registering a fee for its sale and transportation. Peer-to-peer trading arrived in Australiain 2016 with the introduction of innovative, although limited for now, schemes.

Along with a host of new apps that help you to make decisions on solar panels, such as sunshine calculators and panel trackers, there are also apps that let you monitor and direct your solar usage remotely and in real time.

An app-managed solar system

Redback Technologies' second-generation Smart Solar Hybrid Inverter is one such solar PV system that makes it possible to manage your solar energy via your smartphone or tablet.

The Smart Hybrid Solar Inverter combines a solar inverter, a solar battery inverter and cloud-based energy management software in one unit. Its smart energy management algorithms ensure you maximise the use of solar energy within your home. The system can either do this automatically or it can let you choose where the energy is directed, whether that's to connected home appliances, to a solar battery, or back to the grid.

The system is controlled through an internet-enabled interface that can be managed through an app, meaning that you don't have to be at home to control your household energy.

Best of all, Redback's software has been designed to be easily and remotely updated, meaning your system will get better over time as new features are rolled out.

Interested? Click here to get a quote for the Smart Hybrid Solar Inverter.