GridPoint Inc., a Virginia-based energy solutions manufacturer, may have an answer to that problem with their GridPoint Connect, an advanced, domestic power distribution appliance that not only provides clean, optimized electricity but also acts as power broker, selling excess, unused energy back to the utility company on the user’s behalf.
“Since it was installed at the opening of the Green Home Under the H in 2005, I have estimated a reduction of approximately 30 percent of my energy bill,” James Chuda said, eco-architect, designer of the Green Home Under H and co-founder of LuxEcoLiving.com
So far, he hasn’t had any problems.
With the help of an embedded Intel Pentium processor, the device makes perceptive decisions on how household electricity should be used by actively monitoring a solar/utility energy usage ratio and relaying that information to an online interface, called the GridPoint Central, that is fully accessible to the customer. Thus, by use of “smart grid” technology, it’s easily compatible with both traditional and green power sources.
“By using the GridPoint energy control system, which allows me to use the power from my solar panels first, and then if only need be, I can draw power from the grid. Thereby, I am always maximizing the solar panels after charging my batteries,” Chuda said.
“GridPoint’s innovative SmartGrid platform empowers utilities to optimize electrical grid management, achieve business objectives, increase grid reliability, promote environmental stewardship and fuel the adoption of renewable energy sources,” according to the GridPoint’s company’s website.
The device can be programmed to store energy from solar panels during the day for later use when utility rates are high, serving as a preemptive measure against future exorbitant charges.
From the consumer’s standpoint, it’s an incredibly practical long-term solution, however incredibly costly at point of sale. Despite possessing genuine eco-friendly attributes, a resolute price tag of $12,000 will demand a stern investment on top of a pre-existing one that’s needed for acquiring a renewable energy source. Nonetheless, the money saved will eventually pay off for homes that tend to have higher energy use.
Since the GridPoint Connect is a “plug and play” device, it is relatively low-maintenance and features a user-friendly digital interface–not to mention it’s also suitable as both a new installation or a retrofitting.
During outages, its high-capacity, 48-volt reserve battery will provide backup power in mere milliseconds and will distribute power to higher load bearing electronics, including computers, refrigerators and pumps, all while remaining virtually silent.
“By use of my battery storage system for my secure load, I have had constant power during outages,” Chuda said.
Battery storage can be expanded up to a 50 kilowatt-hour rating, if needed, and is maintenance-free with a two-year warranty.
From its debut in 2005 (in relation to that year’s Energy Policy Act), the device has acquired a couple of accolades, including “Most Innovative Design” by Green Builder and “2008 Editors’ Choice” by EcoHome.