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ET24SWE0039 - Laboratory Evaluation of Residential Smart Panels

Project Name
Laboratory Evaluation of Residential Smart Panels
Project Number
Funding Entity
Market Sector
TPM Category Priority 1
Whole Building
TPM Technology Family Type 1
Electrical Infrastructure
Distribution Report
Project Description

With increased residential electrification, households are reducing their carbon footprint by replacing gas appliances and vehicles with all-electric alternatives. In California, the state has set a goal to reach 100 percent zero-carbon energy by 2045 (Executive Order B-55-18). While the reduction of GHG emissions is positive, electrification increases the strain on electrical infrastructure. Many existing homes are not equipped to handle the additional electric load that electrification creates due to electrical service and panel limitations. It’s estimated that 46-58 percent of the country’s 86 million single family homes will require a panel upgrade to support full electrification. This means 5.5 million Californian households will require expensive and time-consuming electrical panel upgrades to fully unlock electrification’s as-advertised benefits.    One emerging technology category that aims to be the enabling solution for residential electrification is Smart Panel technology. A smart panel monitors a home’s electricity consumption and turns off lower priority circuits to ensure active loads remain under the home’s maximum rated electrical service and panel requirements. This in turn can also allow for an increased number of connected electrical devices. Some smart panels can even integrate with existing DERs to enable load shifting and electricity export back to the grid.

Smart panels are relatively new to the market, and they are not well understood in terms of capabilities and potential. Additionally, features between any two “smart panels” can vary dramatically, because there is not a standardized “smart panel” definition. Currently, codes and standards focus only on system safety and not functionality.    UC Davis, in partnership with VEIC, will characterize commercially available smart panels and provide transparent information on system capabilities and integration opportunities. The team will assess smart panels’ ability to provide energy-efficiency improvements, deliver load flexibility and reduce electrification costs for California homeowners.