The Smart Grid: Integrating rising demand & increased renewable energy into an aging and overburdened power grid
Sep 08, 2010
by EmPower Solar
Last week I posted a blog about EmPower COO Greg Sach’s MIT Thesis on Smart Grid Design & Evolution. This entry expands on that post with a little bit of background on where we stand right now and why we need to upgrade to a Smarter Grid.
The power grid in place in America today is still based on the plans that Thomas Edison constructed 120 years ago. Energy demand has skyrocketed since then, and the antiquated power grid can hardly keep up! Outages are becoming more common, power is lost in transmission, and inefficiencies in generation and distribution are costly.
Generating solar energy and monitoring it via SunPower’s Monitoring System is an example of a component of smart metering, an integral part of the future Smart Grid. This monitoring system allows customers to see how much energy their system is producing in real-time on a display mounted inside the home, online via a web-based interface, and on-the-go via SunPower Monitoring apps for iPhone and iPod. By knowing electricity production, system owners can optimize their energy savings. Additionally, SunPower dealers like EmPower can remotely monitor the performance of all of our customer’s system’s, allowing for identification and correction of issues even before the customer notices a problem.
With the smart grid of the future, people will not only be able to monitor how much their solar system is producing, but also how much electricity the entire building is using and real-time energy prices. This transparency allows residents to adjust their usage based on needs and costs.
To read more about the design of the smart grid, check out my previous post with the link to COO Greg Sach’s MIT Thesis on Smart Grid Technology.