By Doug Peeples, SGN News Editor
Smart grid technologies and products are coming out at seemingly blinding speed as the smart grid changes and adapts. Some are new innovations while others are existing technologies and services that evolve to meet changing and growing needs. Here we summarize six new or significantly upgraded technologies that have surfaced recently.
New twists in customer engagement/home energy management
Customer engagement is becoming one of the more quickly growing areas as utilities focus more time and investment on strengthening customer relations and building trust. And a lot of those efforts concentrate on home energy management tools and services. Silver Spring Networks, a networking platform and solutions provider for smart energy networks, recently released a new version of its CustomerIQ customer engagement platform, 3.0.
“Our updated CustomerIQ platform delivers a more dynamic and personalized experience for end users and helps utilities better understand how their customers are using this energy information,” said Matt Smith, senior director for demand side management at Silver Spring. “Silver Spring’s end-to-end customer engagement platform includes an interactive web portal, email notifications, and enhanced mobile site, printed home energy reports, and robust customer service tools. The multi-channel platform, coupled with the ability to support multiple metered devices, creates a strong foundation for expanded demand response, energy efficiency, electric vehicle charging and distributed generation applications across both residential and commercial customers.”
Telkonet has added new features to its EcoSmart line of energy management solutions. The new additions, the EcoGuard wall outlet and EcoSwitch light switches, both are able to stop power to overhead lights or electrical outlets based on a room’s occupancy status, a schedule or an event such as a load shed or a signal from the Property Management System.
Powerit Solutions also has fine tuned its Spara EMS® emergency management system by providing a new optimization service to get the most out of it. Spara is designed to connect industrial facilities to the smart grid. Supported by the company’s recent Spara 2.4 upgrade, the new service examines Spara settings in customers’ automation systems performance and any new equipment, changing utility rates and production needs, then modifies settings for optimal savings and production. The 2.4 upgrade allows Powerit to conduct its analysis and make adjustments remotely.
AEG’s new PV plant inverter: quicker and easier transport and installation
Energy technology and power electronics specialist AEG Power Solutions has released a new central inverter designed for outdoor installation at solar power plants. The 630-kilowatt inverter, The Protect PV.630 outdoor model, has several selling points, according to AEG: higher than 98% efficiency levels, easy to transport, quick to install and a new cooling technology that contributes to the unit’s overall efficiency. Bob Roos, VP Solar Solutions for AEG, points out that the easier transportation and quick installation result in lower installation costs. “The customer also benefits from a standard design which effectively contributes to further cost savings because of lower maintenance and service costs,” he added.
Read about two more new smart grid products you should know about at SmartGridNews.com.
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