How to monitor electricity consumption and generation

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 8 seconds

Monitoring your energy consumption represents the first step towards gaining the necessary awareness to play a role in the current energy revolution focused on renewables and active participation of energy communities.

The best way to save energy is to avoid wasting it: combating wastage actively contributes to cutting consumption and bills.

Closer attention allows you to reduce more obvious energy wastage caused by bad habits, such as leaving lights switched on when you leave a room.

However, the real challenge in the fight to save energy is identifying less obvious wastage that often goes unnoticed. A first step can be taken by implementing various small positive measures such as equipping your home with multi-way socket adapters with a power switch so that you can turn them off in the evening. This increases safety and cuts energy wastage.

But how much energy have you saved? Could you do more? To answer these questions, there is only one solution: monitoring your energy consumption.

 

Monitoring domestic consumption

Monitoring of consumption does not rely on good habits or your own perception of how much energy you use. Monitoring is based on solid data. In fact, monitoring consumption means recording energy flows through your meter, transforming this information into digital data and sending it to a platform, such as that offered by Regalgrid®, that processes and presents this data in real time.

But how is monitoring performed? With a smart meter installed near to the main domestic electricity meter. This tool, combined with a platform for data processing and a smartphone app, allows you to monitor consumption in real time and understand your energy profile based on your consumption habits and lifestyle.

It is important to note that at this stage the data is still in aggregate form. What does this mean? It means that you will see your total consumption at a specific moment, without a breakdown for individual electrical devices.

Is it possible to reveal precise consumption for a single device? Absolutely. Control units connected to the smart meter, such as the SNOCU unit from Regalgrid with Consumer programme, also allow connection of individual smart home appliances and real-time measurement of relative individual consumption. Meanwhile, for all traditional home appliances, you can use smart plugs that communicate with the monitoring system via Wi-Fi, sending data from the individual socket.

This allows you to monitor your consumption in full detail and identify which devices demand the most energy, even in stand-by mode, deciding when to switch them off completely or when it is time to replace them.

However, the SNOCU unit from Regalgrid not only allows you to monitor consumption and reduce costs. It also helps you to decide, possibly at a later stage, whether to join an energy community.

 

Monitoring a photovoltaic system

If you have installed a photovoltaic system, you have even more reason to monitor your energy consumption.

The smart meter, i.e. the SNOCU with Monitor programme, will allow you not only to monitor consumption in the home but also to monitor the yield from your photovoltaic system so that you can optimise energy efficiency for improved energy consumption and lower bills.

Even better, if you are the owner of a generation system, you can consider joining an energy community and sharing the green energy that you don’t use with other prosumers and consumers. In fact, the SNOCU gives you the power to create your own smart community or join an existing one simply by loading the Multi programme from Regalgrid.

 

Monitoring and control of storage systems for PV installations

If your installation is equipped with a storage system, you have gained the title of “proconstomer” (prosumer with storage): a user that produces, stores and consumes renewable energy. This means that you are already well aware of just how important it is to monitor your consumption.

In addition to monitoring consumption and production of the system, you can monitor performance of storage units and enjoy active control over operation. This allows you to decide when to activate the storage systemuse stored energy and share energy with other members of your energy community.

An active energy monitor and control system such as the SNOCU unit with Storage programme combined with the Regalgrid® platform allows specific actions to increase storage efficiency, such as:

  • programming and optimisation of charging and discharging processes to guarantee availability of energy even with peak loads (Power Booster function)
  • switching off the storage unit and using energy produced directly by the PV system
  • disconnecting storage and inverter when they are not required, e.g. during a period away from home or during the night, or in the event of potentially damaging weather phenomena such as storms
  • setting up automatic and smart maintenance of the storage system.

Energy monitoring for businesses

An energy monitor is even more essential for businesses that need to reduce consumption to improve profit margins by cutting fixed costs.

In the company setting, a monitoring system allows:

  • assessment of the efficiency of all components
  • optimisation of production processes
  • reduction of maintenance costs
  • lower bills.

It is also possible to manage multiple adjacent buildings or specific assets with the creation of a monitoring network on which each element has its own dedicated metering device (Slave SNOCU) and a master gateway, the SNOCU with Multi programme, which acts as a central hub for connection to the Regalgrid® platform.

This system offers all of the functionality described in the previous points and is fundamental for an apartment block or business which wants to avoid wastage and anticipate malfunctions via smart maintenance, identifying errors or faults and correcting them in real time. A structured network of this type is also perfect for apartment buildings that install a photovoltaic system and want to monitor consumption for each individual apartment.

 

Monitoring for public authorities

This type of structured monitoring system can also be adopted by public authorities with a kit composed of:

  • SNOCU unit with Multi programme that acts in master mode, monitoring the system and collecting aggregate data
  • multiple dedicated SNOCU units, each for a single asset, which may be represented by public buildings, photovoltaic systems, public lighting, electric-vehicle recharging stations and building-heating management. These slave SNOCU units gather detailed data and send them to the Regalgrid® platform via the master SNOCU unit, allowing control of individual assets.

REGALGRID OPINION

At the beginning of the 20th century it was said that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. This saying fits the context of energy consumption well: the first prerequisite in order to reduce wastage is detailed measurement of consumption itself and the creation of profiles that can be compared between one another for different time periods.

Furthermore, in a modern electricity grid serving energy communities, where each user generates a small quantity of energy in a networked system (prosumers), it is essential to assign and prioritise the destination of excess energy in real time. Similarly, in the presence of distributed storage devices, it is important to know which must be recharged first. These are just some of the tasks performed by the Regalgrid® platform. How is this done?

Using cloud-based algorithms, our platform allows smart functionality to be used with the network of consumption and generation or storage “nodes” connected to the SNOCU units. This means the network can become an energy community equipped with a smart grid. It is thus possible to offer efficiency and convenience to consumers, prosumers and users that have installed both solar panels and a storage system (prosumer with storage), and for owners of houses or apartments and companies and public authorities.