Matching the production with the consumption of electricity
Consuming electricity at the same time that it is being produced, is becoming more and more important. This helps to take some strain off our power grid and allows for more decentralized, green energy to be connected all over the country.
You can help by switching appliances on when the sun is shining on the solar panels. Appliances that can be used to this end are those that don’t necessarily need to run at a precise moment, such as:
Measuring and predicting
In order to know at what moment to switch appliances on and off, it is important to know how much electricity flows in and out of the house at any given moment. Usually a meter needs to be installed in the main circuit board to control this.
It’s also important to know how much power the appliances use, and for how long (for instance: how long does the dishwasher’s normal cleaning program run for?)
The available amount of solar power also needs to be known, in other words: what’s the weather forecast for the next few hours?
And ideally, the system should know what other, non-controllable loads there are that require power at what times: if we can take those into account as well, then we can design an optimal plan for the controllable loads.
SMA’s Sunny Home Manager is the device that can do all of the above, making it the perfect addition to any solar installation using SMA inverters. Bearing in mind that the net metering system in the Netherlands is going to change in the next few years, adding this product to your solar system would be a smart move. However, you will need more than just the Sunny Home Manager to turn your house into a smart home.
The Sunny Home Manager is the intelligent energy manager for your home
Which elements can you add?
The easiest building blocks to add are so-called ‘smart’ plugs. They can be used to measure the power that passes through, and be controlled by the Sunny Home Manager through the local WiFi network. Smart plugs can be used to switch dishwashers and washing machines on, on one condition: The appliance must be able to continue running after a power cut. Some appliances automatically go into ‘stand-by’ mode if the power is cut, so if that’s the case, the device cannot be set into motion through the plug. This is something you need to check before installing the smart plugs.
Other devices that can be controlled using smart plugs are pool pumps, or simple electric boilers (geysers).
The current brands of smart plugs that work seamlessly with the Sunny Home Manager are the Edimax SP-2101W plugs and AVM smart plugs.
Smart household appliances
If your dishwasher or washing machine needs replacing, and you’re looking for a unit that doesn’t only save energy and water, but is also capable of making optimal use of your own solar power, then it may be worth investing in a Siemens or Bosch machine.
These two brands are fully compatible with the Sunny Home Manager and can communicate directly with the device, i.e. without the use of smart plugs. Not all models are compatible however: You can click here for a recent list of compatible appliances, or you can check directly on the Siemens or Bosch websites.
You can see whether a Siemens or Bosch appliance is suitable for direct communication with the Sunny Home Manager by looking under the ‘Product Specifications’, and going into ‘Technical Information’ or ‘Product Details’ and then to ‘Connectivity’. If the HomeConnect functionality mentions: ‘Energy Management PV system’ , then you can be sure the appliance is compatible with the Sunny Home Manager 2.0
Using your excess solar power to heat water is another good way of utilizing your sustainable energy. You can heat the water with a simple boiler, or with a ‘smart’ heating rod that matches the amount of power it consumes to the amount of excess power in your household.
Instead of using a boiler or heating rod, you can also choose a more efficient way of creating hot water using a heat pump. Some heat pumps can be controlled directly by the Sunny Home Manager. On many other brands you can find a ‘Smart Grid-ready’ function, that can be controlled using a smart plug.
Charging an Electric Vehicle (EV)
Electric cars carry impressive batteries: you can store a lot of excess solar power inside them. The ideal EV-charger will adjust the amount of power flowing into the car to the amount of excess solar power that you are not using at any given moment. That way you can make optimal use of the clean energy from your own roof and use as little power from the grid as possible.
The car chargers that work best with the Sunny Home Manager are the Mennekes Amtron Xtra and SMA’s own new SMA EV-charger.
Naturally you can also store excess power in batteries. The Sunny Home Manager is the perfect controller for battery systems, as it is able to signal to the battery inverter when is the best time to charge or discharge the batteries. This enables you to maximize your self-consumption even more.
Getting to the ideal situation, step by step
Optimizing your self-consumption doesn’t happen from one day to the next. You can look upon it as a process: over the course of time you can add new elements to your smart home bit by bit. For those of us with solar installations using SMA inverters, getting the SMA Sunny Home Manager installed is the logical first step. Afterwards you can expand your smart home step by step. If you don’t have a solar installation yet, then ask our advisers to add a Sunny Home Manager into the quote for the entire system. If you do already have a solar installation with an SMA inverter, then contact our Service department for a quote.
Click here for the Sunny Home Manager datasheet, and here for the SolarEdge Modbus meter datasheet.