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The Rapid Rise of the Home Energy Management System

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On the 1st of July, some states within Australia saw a 20% increase in their already high energy costs. In fact, South Australia is now believed to have some of the highest electricity prices in the world. The rest of Australia follows closely behind, and there seems no end in sight for rising energy costs. The unstable nature of some of our energy grids is also leading many Australians to turn to alternative energy sources: namely, solar. And it’s no wonder. Solar systems are becoming more efficient and more affordable as the technology improves. Still however, many households are not making the best use of their solar power. With a drop in initially high buy-back prices from the government, many Australians who had invested heavily in solar energy were left wondering whether their investment was a wise decision. Looking for smarter ways to manage their household’s energy consumption, Australians are turning to home energy management systems, or HEMS. This technology has risen rapidly in popularity since its inception around a decade ago, and it is little wonder.

What is a home energy management system (HEMS)?

A home energy management system, or HEMS is designed to monitor solar power and grid electricity usage in the home, by tracking the flow of energy throughout the premises. A hardwired device is generally connected to the internet, where the HEMS provider’s software measures, tracks and records energy usage in a cloud-based application. The idea behind HEMS is to discover ways in which the household can save on their energy costs by better managing the way that appliances and other energy-using devices in the home are drawing power. This might mean only using energy-heavy appliances like dishwashers, dryers and the like when the home’s solar system is generating power, for example.

A home energy management system can help users to save on their energy costs, and even prevent the wasteful export of solar power due to ineffective usage in the home.

What are the benefits of a home energy management system?

Home energy management systems represent a great opportunity for households to understand their energy usage patterns, and make simple changes which can help to save on energy costs. While home energy management systems can be used whether or not you have solar, for Australians who have already made the switch to solar power, HEMS can help to manage the usage of solar power so as not to waste it, or feed back into the grid for as little as 6c/kWh.

Since the cessation of a mandatory feed-in tariff policy by the government, many Australians were left scratching their heads. What was once a generous incentive to those considering solar power, the feed-in tariffs are now no longer mandatory in most states and territories, and those that do exist are not particularly generous. Of course, this is no reason to cancel plans for a switch to solar energy. Solar power systems are still a fantastic way for homes and businesses to save on energy costs, and as the systems become more affordable, their potential return on investment continues to rise.

A HEMS installation can help consumers to better understand where their solar energy is going, and make informed decisions to make better use of this energy source. Unlike a power bill, which simply states the lump sum of energy usage, a home energy management system details when the most power is being consumed, and by which devices. A HEMS also allows consumers to decide when devices should be running, based on when the majority of solar power is being generated.

How hard is a HEMS to install and use?

While it does require a licensed tradesman to install, a home energy management system is quite easy and quick to integrate into the home. Different HEMS products range from simple plug-in monitoring devices, to more complex systems which can connect to each device and control when they switch on and off, depending on your electricity generation capacity and patterns. A HEMS like the PowerGenius system is compatible with any solar system, so there’s no need to worry about which system you currently have installed.

The beauty of cloud software is that your HEMS is working, even while you sleep. With over-the-air updates, these types of systems are upgraded automatically and can begin performing better every time an update happens: you don’t need to do a thing!

Why you need a HEMS if you have solar?

The eternal conundrum facing solar power users is that the peak power usage times are often at night, when the family are all at home, and the sun isn’t shining. Washing the clothes after getting home from work and school, and doing the dishes after dinner are some of the most common household behaviours which make managing solar power a challenge. Without battery storage (which can cost in excess of $15,000 for purchase and installation), the energy being generated during the day, when the sun is at its most potent, is often wasted.

A home energy management system does more than just monitor the power consumption of your home’s devices, it can also tell you when is the optimal time to use your devices, and can even do the turning on and off for you. A HEMS allows users to make the most of their solar power generation by strategically timing their energy usage. The more devices connected to the HEMS, the more there is to be saved.

Are there any downsides to Home Energy Management Systems?

As with most new technology, users will only benefit from the use of a system like HEMS if they’re willing to make the necessary changes. Home energy management is all about adapting the household energy usage patterns to better suit electricity generation. Smart systems, like the PowerGenius can help with these adjustments, by timing to use of devices and appliances for its users; thus removing the need to remember to set the dishwasher for the middle of the day.

What is PowerGenius?

PowerGenius is a HEMS that manages how your solar power and grid electricity is used throughout the home, automatically. By managing how the devices in your home use power, and by connecting with your solar system, PowerGenius helps to reduce your dependence on the power grid, and make the most of the solar energy your system is generating every day.  Once the PowerGenius hardware is fitted by one of our installers, you can rest assured knowing that you’re making the best use of your solar power system, and helping to save the planet as well.

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