Photovoltaic solar panels are installed in more and more households. At the same time, feed-in tariffs to the grid get lower and lower. Optimizing for self-consumption looks an attractive solution, but its implementation is not trivial and includes cost consideration and equipment.

Self-consumption can be achieved by matching home consumption with PV production. There are various possibilities:

  • activating home appliances (e.g. washing-machine) at solar production peak. Either the prosumer relies on weather forecast and programs his/her appliance in advance… Or his/her energy software platform manages the appliance with ON/OFF smartplugs, which may or may not be relevant depending on the type of appliances and physical constraints (electronic appliance with in-built programmation capabilities, need for manual action to be effective, etc.)
  • storing electricity in a battery. It’s expensive today, but the technology is evolving at a fast rate.
  • managing energy storage on a water heating source such as a smart heat pump (thermodynamic) or a water heater with an electrical component (resistance). It appears as an affordable solution for homes which do not have a battery, allowing a first level of self-consumption optimization. In order to scale up, that load balancing solution requires a combination of market volumes (e.g. water heaters in France) and standards (e.g. Smart Grid Ready heatpumps in Germany).

We have presented the third option at European Utility Week 2016, where self-consumption is optimized by managing a water heater, with a power reducer and IJENKO energy management software platform.

Solar Demonstration

The following video shows a basic drawing of the house, with LED representing energy flows:

  • on top: a solar panel with its inverter
  • on the left: the grid
  • on the right: home consumption with an energy box
  • on the bottom: a power reducer and a water heater (the power reducer can be replaced with a relay, and the water heater with a smart heat pump, SG Ready)

With IJENKO IoEnergy software platform and a power reducer, the water tanks takes less energy from the grid and more from the solar panel, when it reaches a production peak:

YouTube Preview Image