Powernet researchers are developing a Home Hub to enable consumers to control their energy consumption, participate in aggregation services, save money and make the most of their home batteries, solar panels and other devices. The Home Hub will help the broader electricity system operate reliably and at least cost by reacting automatically to changing system requirements and enabling the coordination of resources in homes to enable aggregate grid services such as ramp following and regulation.
Based on learning consumer choices and electricity prices, for example, the Home Hub will know whether output from a solar panel should be used, stored or sold, and then act accordingly. Individual consumers will gain increased control over their assets conveniently while also acting on their environmental values. In addition, existing resources can be subscribed to participate in aggregate services for the grid that compensate consumers according to wholesale market needs and pricing.
The Powernet team is developing the hardware for the hub, consisting of a computing unit that runs Home Hub’s software and optimization algorithms. This unit also has wired and wireless communication capabilities to collect data from different sources within the home as well as outside.
Each home’s distributed energy resources, i.e. battery storage and solar generation, and SDFs will communicate and be controlled by the Home Hub. It will also be able to control plug-level devices, like washer and dryer, if the devices have wireless capabilities.
The Home Hub’s software will collect and process data for learning user preferences, communicating with the Cloud Controller and detecting anomalies. The hub will also include an interface for users to monitor and control their system from web applications and mobile devices. Having access to round-the-clock circuit level power information in the home allows additional analysis and alert functions, if the consumer desires. Examples include recommendations on electrical rate choices, opportunities for energy savings and alerts for abnormal conditions.