Demand Director optimizes the use of on-site generated renewable energy and minimizes the use of non-renewable grid power by balancing energy demand with PV production through the use of real-time demand monitoring and automated controls. Demand Director automates the adjustment of electric vehicle charging and other loads based on real-time PV generation.

The benefits of Demand Director include:

  • Optimizing solar economics where the net metering credit rate is less than local utility energy costs
  • Relieving grid load and increasing capacity for distributed generation with today’s grid infrastructure
  • Minimizing battery size requirements for off-grid and hybrid installations
  • Enabling rapid compliance with demand response signals
  • Reducing parasitic power loss

Demand director monitors PV generation and building energy demand in real-time and controls loads or provides energy use recommendations to the user based on the user’s energy use priorities. The greatest challenge we faced in creating Demand Director was lack of time due to the compressed nature of the Hackathon. We had more ideas than we were able to integrate into our concept and had to appropriately scope what we could accomplish in the time we had. Additionally, finding hourly home energy demand and PV generation data to create the simulation and derive our control logic was an initial challenge that we had. Additional data about typical electric vehicle charging profiles would allow us to further refine our logic to optimize the charging of EVs.

There are a number of additional features that could be incorporated into future versions of Demand Director, including:

  • The ability to interface with all home energy use control protocols to maximize the home energy demand controlled by the system
  • The ability to interface with wi-fi thermostats and/or smart HVAC vent controls to optimize heating and cooling
  • Additional logic to optimize the timing of each type of power load
  • The ability to predict the next day’s PV production using solar insolation forecasts and provide customized energy demand recommendations to the user based on their typical demand profile and integration with their Google Calendar, especially for EV and appliance usage forecasting
  • Reduction of parasitic power demand when nobody is present in the home by utilizing the location of mobile devices
  • Integration of other demand management signals, including utility demand response and potential future time of use pricing
  • The ability to discharge batteries to feed power back to the grid if future residential pricing schemes make this cost-effective
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