The modern home is a smart home, with everything from voice activated speakers to thermostats you can control from your home. But to truly be “smart” about your own home, you need to have insight into–and control over–more than just the color of your desk lamp. Enter smart panels: the new technology that’s taking home energy insights and the solar-plus industry to the next level. One such smart panel is Schneider Electric’s Square D Energy Center. We sat down with the team at Schneider to learn more about their brand new product.
Key takeaways: the Energy Center allows you to…
- Monitor the energy usage of your individual appliances, while assessing how they are behaving and what they are costing you
- Control your appliances from anywhere using the mobile or desktop app
- Seamlessly integrate your current solar and/or storage system
- More accurately determine how much solar and/or storage you need to meet your electricity consumption
- Find solar panels to integrate with your Energy Center on the EnergySage Marketplace
All about Schneider Electric’s Square D Energy Center
The Square D Energy Center is, first and foremost, a smart electrical panel, the main component of a home energy management system. After hearing Schneider Electric talk about it, we think the main goal of the Energy Center is, in a word, integration.
While the Energy Center provides the typical value of a smart electrical panel by replacing your existing service panel to provide monitoring and controls at the circuit level across your whole home, it provides much more interoperability beyond just that. First and foremost, the Energy Center seamlessly integrates the Wiser consumption monitor, which disaggregates load information to tell you the amount of energy each of your appliances is using, how much each appliance costs you per month, and if an appliance is behaving abnormally.
Next, the Energy Center easily integrates solar and storage: it can integrate either a hybrid string inverter system or a micro inverter system, and can incorporate either AC or DC coupled storage. The easiest solution to pair the Energy Center with is SolarEdge’s Energy Hub inverter, which benefits from an easy-to-install, quick mount system on the back of the Energy Center. This allows for quick–here’s that word again–integration of a solar and storage system to the Energy Center.
From there, the Energy Center continues to incorporate additional energy products and services: it can be set up to include an electric vehicle charger or a backup generator, and with a pre-pulled critical load segment of the electric panel to provide flexibility during an outage event.
You may be familiar with the solar industry but unfamiliar (so far!) with Schneider Electric. We’ll forgive you–though they are a nearly 200 year-old, multi-national company, the Square D Energy Center represents somewhat of a pivot to more consumer-facing products for Schneider.
Schneider Electric’s bread and butter is developing electric monitoring and control systems. Most of Schneider’s products target the commercial and industrial sectors, with switches and controls, relays, transformers, and motor starters; but that doesn’t mean they’re entirely new to the residential segment: you may even already have a Schneider Electricity produced main electric panel!
All of which is to say that designing a device to help homeowners monitor and control their electricity usage, as well as to integrate all of the different energy systems in a house, is right up Schneider Electric’s alley.
What are the main benefits of the Square D Energy Center?
There are a few key benefits of the Energy Center: monitoring and controls, easy integration of clean energy technologies, flexible dispatch of your battery, and easy installation.
Monitoring and controls
For a product to be a true home energy management system, it needs to provide two primary things: monitors and controls. The Square D Energy Center does just that. It relies on the Wiser energy monitoring system to track consumption, using software to disaggregate individual load signals so the Energy Center can tell you which specific appliances are running and when, and can estimate how much each appliance costs you to run per month. And with integrated smart circuits, the Energy Center allows you to turn on and off individual circuits.
Right size–and easily integrate–your solar system
One of the most difficult aspects of solar and, in particular, storage quotes is determining how big of a system you really need. The Energy Center helps ensure that you only pay for what you need by providing full insight into your energy usage and consumption habits. And, as discussed more below, the Energy Center provides flexibility in how you use your battery in a solar-plus-storage system, which can avoid a costly oversized battery solution.
Flexible battery dispatch
One of the biggest benefits from smart electric panels is their ability to provide flexibility with how you use your battery during an outage. The Energy Center is no different: it has a dedicated protected loans panel that is pre-wired, with smart circuits that can be turned on and off on the fly from the mobile or desktop app. That sort of flexibility means you can get away with installing a slightly smaller battery to cover more of your home’s usage.
The Energy Center doesn’t just provide benefits to its customers–it’s great for solar installers too! From the easy integration of solar and storage, to the pre-wired protected load section, the Energy Center is an easy install from a mechanical and electrical perspective. Easier installation = less time and money spent by your solar installer.
Get started on your clean energy journey with EnergySage
The Schneider Electric Square D Energy Center, and smart panels like it, comprises one key component of the clean energy transition. But without the clean energy to power your home, that transition is incomplete. That’s where EnergySage can help: when you sign up for a free account on the EnergySage Marketplace, we provide you with custom solar quotes from solar installers in your area. The best part? You can even include a smart panel, like the Energy Center, in your installation. So what are you waiting for – get started with your own clean energy journey with EnergySage today!