So to catch up from last blog, we have established that in order to maximise solar use, you need to match supply (from solar) with demand. To do this, you need a smart energy monitor which can constantly update the difference between the two. As a starter I recommend the Eco Eye. But what if you need remote control because you’re not around to turn things on and off during the day?
For this you need to go up a level and the people who are doing most to solve this problem are Elios4you. This system is constantly monitoring the solar generation but comes with an immersion switch and a maximum of four plugs or switches to turn on appliances.
First of all the immersion switch. This works by turning on the immersion element in your hot water tank whenever you have excess solar generation. On a half decent day this will give you a free tank of lovely hot water having used no gas. There are quite a few different manufacturers doing these systems though. I’ve done a review of different manufacturers here.
Where Elios4you really comes into its own though is the SmartPlug and SmartSwitch. These work in a similar way to the immersion switch except that they will turn on a plug in or switch devise such as a washing machine, dishwasher, tumble dryer or other high load items. Obviously, some of these work on a cycle so the smart plug would wait until you are producing sufficient energy for say the washing machine, turn it on and then if the solar generation drops the machine will continue running on grid energy.
With this installed you are getting into some pretty high level of control so it does come at a significant cost. Materials will be around £500 and you will need an electrician to install which will be about £200. So £700ish altogether. It’s pretty good value though for the control that you get and it will have paid for itself in savings in 3 years. That’s an excellent investment.