Smart Meter and Smart Monitoring of Renewable Energy Systems

Smart Meters are advanced meters (usually an electrical meter) that identify consumption in more detail than a conventional meter; and optionally, but generally, communicates that information via some network back to the local utility for monitoring and billing purposes (telemetering). wiki

More popular in Europe–smart meters are coming to America, last night President Obama couldn’t have talked more about smart grids and smart meters.  Smart grids can allow solar or wind power plants to generate electricity and transmit it to where it can be immediately used.  Smart Grids can also enable rural places like west Texas and South Dakota to generate renewable energy and send it to a city and population center. recovery.gov

Google.org’s PowerMeter is a software that can interface with a consumer’s product, smart meter, energy usage data, and energy habits to google’s PowerMeter software and shows feedback on iGoogle.  Seeing your energy use is the first step of getting out of denial and the PM software is a cool way to stay involved in your energy useage and habits and set certain goals for your self.   You can connect to a solar panel array or inverter, get feedback from your meter, smart distribution panel, or any device that has a smart meter–and have it displayed on your google account.

imagine your power useage on your iGoogle page

imagine your power useage on your iGoogle page

Fat Spaniel– monitoring software and solar supplier.  Looking at return on investment and lifecycle analysis on renewable energy systems through user friendly software interfaces.

Enphase Energy– Strong developers of micro inverters that let you monitor and maximize the production of a solar array.  Micro-inverters are small inverters that attached one per panel.  In an array of  solar panels you can get feedback from individual panels, a big inverter only gives you feedback of the whole array, and doesn’t allow such exact trouble shooting data that the micro-inverters do.

NREL’s Homer software, now http://www.homerenergy.com, is a computer model that simplifies the task of evaluating design options for both off-grid and grid-connected power systems for remote, stand-alone, and distributed generation (DG) applications. HOMER’s optimization and sensitivity analysis algorithms allow the user to evaluate the economic and technical feasibility of a large number of technology options and to account for uncertainty in technology costs, energy resource availability, and other variables.

NREL homer energy

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