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'The future is already here' as trial integrating clean tech into singular system unveiled

The trial will integrate solar, storage and electric vehicle chargers into one system.

The trial will integrate solar, storage and electric vehicle chargers into one system.

A trial integrating domestic clean technology into one system and exploring ways in which this could participate in demand side response (DSR) has been unveiled.

The Core4Grid trial has seen battery storage and smart meters installed into 24 houses that already had solar PV and electric vehicle chargers, with a microcomputer dubbed Core integrating the assets into a whole system within each home.

The project is being led by smart energy firm geo, with EDF, UK Power Networks (UKPN), Everoze, Upside Energy, Cambridge Energy and the Housing Association’s Charitable Trust.

Geo describes Core as its “energy brain”, with the device able to optimise the different devices. It is hoped this will then reduce the carbon footprints and energy costs of the households participating in the trial.

However, the system will also respond to signals in order to balance supply and demand, freeing up capacity on the electricity system. This is also controlled by Core, which decides how and when the homes should individually use their energy, and depends on software signals received from Upside Energy.

The project is also trialing ways to use the devices to free up more capacity on the network through DSR, something that Ian Cameron, head of customer service at UKPN said is a "win for customers, a win for the environment and a win for the network".

“‘Homes of the future’ may sound a bit clichéd, and this project is demonstrating that the future is here already. We are developing the technology to run the network more efficiently, and save money for our customers while lowering carbon emissions. That’s our mission," Cameron added.

The trial has already been running for three months, with participating homes sourcing over half of the energy they used from their solar and batteries. Total energy savings came in at 3,000kWh for the period, which started in March.

Patrick Caiger-Smith, CEO of geo said the trial is demonstrating "how smart technology can reduce household energy cost and carbon footprint without households having to think about it".

The trial is set to continue on until February 2021, with funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

“Trials like this with multiple partners across a range of skills prove just how innovative and forward thinking the UK energy industry is," Devrim Celal, CEO of Upside Energy, said.

"We believe the power of new technology will play a key part in delivering the UK’s net zero ambitions and it’s projects like this, bringing together some of the brightest minds in the industry, that will accelerate that transition”.

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