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How Solar-Powered Smart Homes Are Getting More Intelligent

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What if you could maximize a home’s smart devices beyond their native data points while simultaneously decreasing its energy consumption in order to unlock true energy-saving benefits? Well folks, that time is now. Read on to see how a solar upgrade can make any home smarter.

The Modern Smart Home

No longer a thing of the future, houses of today are as abundant and tech savvy as ever. From smart thermostats to digital assistants, the devices that transform ordinary residences into smart houses are all designed with similar goals in mind: to provide ease, control and comfort.

And thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), most of today’s appliances and devices can be connected for cross-functionality and remote control capabilities. Take the smart thermostat Nest for example. So long as a mobile phone is connected to the internet, homeowners can turn off their air conditioning while they’re away at work or out to dinner with friends.

But beyond optimizing appliances and providing efficient alternatives to look up a nearby restaurant on Google or turn on your lights, devices are “smart” because they also supply users with data insights about their usage habits. These data points are helpful because they allow end users to make rational decisions - everything from as minor as which restaurants offer delivery in their area to important insights about how much energy their A/C used this month compared to last month. It’s this level of intelligence and efficiency that makes a smart house so attractive. Now homeowners can act accordingly and order dinner in a timely fashion, or automate their thermostat to “Eco Temperatures” to save money on their next energy bill.

However, to take the smart home one step further, it’s important to remember the additional goal of most intelligent devices and appliances: to reduce unnecessary energy consumption. With this sustainability factor in mind, it’s easy to see how clean energy alternatives like solar take the smart home’s of today to the next level.

Smarter Houses with Solar

To put it plain and simple, devices need power. And the more interconnected a home, the more devices it probably has. To make a residence truly resourceful, reducing its reliance on fossil fuels is a fantastic way to accomplish that.

For starters, solar installations fit into the principles of smart appliances. PV panels allow homeowners to take control of their electricity, upgrade their energy consumption, and provide end users with valuable data to measure their system’s performance.

But probably the most appealing benefit of a solar installation is the energy bill savings. While it’s true that smart devices and appliances can reduce up to 40% of residential energy consumption, solar modules can amplify this even further by eliminating a home’s reliance on the electrical grid altogether, especially when paired with backup battery storage. This equates to exceptional savings over the lifetime of your panel installation.

Take a look at this list from SolarReviews of the average solar savings a homeowner can expect in the top 10 U.S. solar cities for a 6 kW solar system in 2022.

City Electricity Cost per kWh Annual Solar Production (kWh) Approximate 25-Year Bill Savings
Phoenix, AZ $0.12 9,366 $40,977
Mesa, AZ $0.13 9,540 $45,217
Tucson, AZ $0.13 9,498 $45,018
Fresno, CA $0.21 8,694 $66,565
Long Beach, CA $0.21 9,012 $68,999
Los Angeles, CA $0.21 9,066 $69,413
Oakland, CA $0.21 8,646 $66,197
Sacramento, CA $0.21 8,538 $65,370
San Diego, CA $0.29 9,024 $95,412
San Francisco, CA $0.24 8,922 $78,682

Fortunately for smart house enthusiasts, advancements in technology within the renewable energy industry have resulted in the development of smart energy management systems. For a truly efficient solar-powered abode, installing an energy management system along with your solar system is the icing on the cake of any smart house.

Home Energy Management

Whole-home energy management systems like Lumin allow homeowners to customize and control their electric circuits. They also arm people with extensive knowledge about those circuits. Think about data like which appliances or rooms are using the most energy and when. From there, end users can turn off (or on) circuits as they see fit. Much like solar panel insights, smart energy management systems put homeowners in control of their energy consumption.

When paired with a PV and battery storage system, smart panels can prolong the life of a battery with their intelligent automations and  customizations, in turn optimizing the life of the entire system. These optimizations - known as Smart Power Mode in the Lumin app, allow a house to remain off-grid for longer during rolling blackouts or other grid malfunctions because they let you, the homeowner, decide which circuits to shed. For example, if a house loses power at 10 p.m., you can elect to cut power to your oven so the battery’s power can supply other, more important circuits.

Solar-Powered Smart Homes Save The Day

People opt for smart devices because they offer efficiency and flexibility. Not only that, but they provide homeowners with powerful insights so they can make informed decisions based on their needs. So, too, do solar panels. When solar panels are paired with intelligent devices and appliances, they improve their inherent efficiency and create a "smarter" house that's better for the environment. To truly top it all off, adding a smart panel allows end users to manage their electrical circuits to tailor their power usage to their own needs, all while minimizing their carbon footprint and enlarging their wallets.

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