Is photovoltaics worth it? Home automation with PV panels.
Smart home and photovoltaics – Everything you need to know
Both photovoltaics and smart home solutions are gaining popularity year by year. And it’s no wonder. Combining smart home technology with photovoltaics is not only an eco-friendly solution but also an economical one. Home automation allows for maximum savings and the most efficient use of photovoltaics. It ensures the convenience and comfort of daily use. It also aligns with the currently popular “less waste” or “zero waste” trends, which aim for efficient resource utilization. Discover what else you need to know about photovoltaics and its integration with a smart home system.
Photovoltaics – How does it work?
An inverter, also known as a converter, and photovoltaic modules are all you need to produce electric energy independently. The photovoltaic panel itself is made up of cells, which are manufactured from silicon. All these cells are connected in series and are properly protected. Silicon, through the photoelectric effect, converts the energy from sunlight into direct current. The inverter then transforms it into alternating current – the kind that flows in our outlets. This allows us to use it instantly in our homes and settle accounts with the energy provider.
Is photovoltaics worth it?
More and more roofs are equipped with photovoltaic panels. Installing them and connecting to the existing “traditional” home electrical installation allows homeowners to enjoy savings in electricity consumption.
However, for the entire system to be cost-effective, several factors need to be taken into account. These are:
- Investment Cost – The cost of photovoltaics depends on the quality of the system, its size, and the method of installation. What we spend initially affects the time it takes for the investment to pay off.
- Subsidies – The price of photovoltaics remains unchanged, but its cost to the investor can be reduced by taking advantage of subsidy programs for purchasing photovoltaic panels for the home.
- System Efficiency – It’s worth noting that each year, the efficiency of photovoltaics decreases by about 0.6%. This should be considered as part of the investment.
- Energy Management System – This is something we often forget about. The mere installation of panels is not enough to fully harness the potential of photovoltaics. Only with a system like Grenton Smart Home, which is a modern electrical installation with automation, can such possibilities be achieved.
There’s a way to avoid losing the produced energy to power companies supplying coal-based electricity. Just as there’s a way for the system to carry out planned actions without our intervention.
The Grenton Smart Home system significantly expands the possibilities of a smart home equipped with photovoltaic panels.
What does the combination of a smart home with photovoltaics offer? Water heating and other advantages.
In smart homes with photovoltaic installations, it’s common practice to use photovoltaics for water heating. It works perfectly in conjunction with a heat pump, which it can power.
However, water heating through photovoltaics is not the only benefit of its integration with a smart home. Today, you can begin building your dream home automation system. It will not only be convenient and comfortable for the entire family but also prepared for challenges associated with the ever-rising energy prices. Every home equipped with the Grenton Smart Home system automatically:
- will check the level of consumed and produced electrical energy;
- in case of overproduction of energy – will turn off the central water heating (CWU) boiler (to save gas or oil) and activate the
- electric heater in the CWU tank and the heat reservoir;
- will check if the overproduction of electricity has been depleted – if so, it will disconnect the electric heater before using external electricity;
- can turn on all electric heating devices or selected ones to adjust to the amount of energy currently being produced;
- will automatically turn off the lights when a room is empty and turn them back on when someone enters, and also turn off devices inside, like chargers;
- will adjust lighting according to the time of day using a light sensor – maintaining optimal brightness with minimal electrical energy consumption and maximizing the use of natural daylight;
- in the event of a total power outage, it can automatically switch to energy-saving mode and activate only emergency lighting, e.g., selected low-power LED bulbs;
- will close and open gates or roller shutters when needed;
- will allow charging of electric cars at home, eliminating the need to drive to a charging station – every saved Watt counts!
With the overproduction of electrical energy stored in a battery or the power grid, it’s easy to be tempted to waste these resources: leaving lights on or devices running in rooms where no one is present. The smart home system prevents this. Everything happens automatically, without the intervention of the occupants, who only notice low or nearly zero energy bills. The Grenton Smart Home system saves time and avoids risks associated with unplanned use of power from the electricity grid. Meanwhile, you relax, spend time with loved ones, and enjoy the savings.
Smart home and photovoltaics for your home
Electric cars and plug-in hybrids, which until recently were only accessible to enthusiasts of expensive technical novelties, are becoming available to everyone. In the near future, an electric car charger will be a standard part of the equipment in a garage or parking space next to the house.
The Grenton Smart Home system can easily cooperate with both the car and the charger, allowing you to charge the electric car at home virtually “for free”, as well as use it as a battery for the entire house (vehicle-to-grid technology). Thanks to this, the house is independent, and the owner does not have to worry about interruptions in the electricity supply (both planned and unplanned).
Importantly, the system itself can initiate the car charging, utilizing energy produced and stored by the PV installation. This is a way to provide free power to the car, leading to massive savings.
However, powering the vehicle is not the only advantage. Combining photovoltaics with home automation is also a way to manage a heat pump, air conditioning, or recuperation. The system will decide to turn on or off a specific device depending on whether it’s currently needed by the occupants. In this way, for instance, it controls the heat pump, heating the rooms you are in or turning off the heating when everyone leaves the house.
How does the smart home system tame “power guzzlers”?
Everyone has probably caught themselves at some point leaving a device plugged in when not in use. After charging a phone or laptop battery, one needs to remember to unplug it from the socket because, as it turns out, such forgetfulness can be quite costly. Devices left plugged in generate up to 10% of the electricity bill costs. The top culprits consuming power include the idle laptop and the microwave oven. Here’s a breakdown of devices that consume the most power (average values):
- Laptop – 8.9 W – 40.05 PLN annually;
- Cable Modem – 3.84 W – 17.28 PLN annually;
- Microwave – 3.08 W – 13.86 PLN annually;
- Desktop Computer – 2.84 W – 12.78 PLN annually;
- Computer Monitor – 1.13 W – 5.09 PLN annually;
- Air Conditioner – 0.9 W – costing 4.46 PLN annually;
- Phone Charger – 0.26 W – costing 1.17 PLN annually.
Assuming that 1 kWh costs 0.50 PLN. And as we know, this is very variable. In 2023, the average price for 1 kWh will be around 1 PLN. This means doubling the above calculations, resulting in even higher electricity bills.
Fortunately, there’s a way to start saving regardless of electricity prices. The Grenton Smart Home System ensures that all devices you leave connected don’t draw power when it’s not necessary. You no longer need to remember to turn off devices that have gone into standby mode – the intelligent home will do it for you!