I was at Lowes recently and saw a Samsung Fridge that was ‘smart-home ready’ and had a small display on the door. After doing a little research, I discovered that these new appliances have the ability to work with your Energy Management System in your home – and – could technically have a conversation with your solar about ideal timing to cool your iced tea! The ‘Energy Management System’ market is forecasted to double in the next 4 years as homes continue to add gadgets to just about every facet of operation.
So what is an ‘Energy Management System’ and how does it work with my fridge anyway?
An EMS is essentially a ‘brain’ that allows smart devices – those devices that have the capability to report their operating status and to adjust operation to set programming or to ‘active’ requirements of the home – to interconnect as one ‘system’ or ‘network’.
Many solar inverters are smart-grid ready and can be controlled and monitored by energy management systems. This functionality in your solar inverter is a must to ensure that it can communicate with the rest of your home as your gadgets and appliances get smarter in the very near future.
Here is an example of how an EMS can work in your home: Let’s assume you have ‘time of use’ rates for your electricity and a smart grid ready solar system, set to net-meter, installed at your home. It’s 4pm in July and it’s 38C outside. Your air-conditioning might actually check with the EMS to determine if it’s best to wait until 5pm when rates drop to begin cooling the house -or- see that there is an abundance of solar power to draw from and cool the house during peak rates strictly on solar power. All this is happening while you’re at the beach monitoring it on your smart-phone!
Before you install solar or do any upgrades or replacements of your HVAC equipment or major appliances, it’s worth at least making sure the equipment you purchase will be able to play nicely with an EMS and other devices down the road.