Update: Sense Solar is shipping now, thanks to your requests and feedback!
This post was originally published in February 2016.
One of our most popular requests is to have the Sense home energy monitor work for houses with solar power (#2 – right after Android support!).
This is a very high priority for us as well.
Making Sense work for solar would mean that:
- Base Sense functionality works even if you have solar panels. This is already true today if your solar connects in before your electrical panel (so, solar feeds in someplace between your electric meter and the panel where you install the Sense home energy monitor). But, many solar installs have the solar power coming into breakers in the electrical panel. This causes a problem for Sense because Sense then sees your consumption minus your production (the power flowing between your house and the electric company), and we can no longer figure out consumption on its own.
- The Sense application shows solar production. While you may already have a way to monitor solar production on its own, we think it will be great to allow you to see production in the context of your usage — for example, to see a graph of production overlaid with consumption. This will allow you to better see how your solar production and consumption interact, and help you shift your consumption to peak production times if that is important to you.
The good news is that our current hardware already has solar support! The extra port on the Sense monitor will allow us to support an additional set of CTs (which we will sell as a solar add-on). With this, we will be able to support both the above goals for most solar installations. If your solar feeds into a breaker, the extra CTs will measure that in real time and allow us to compute both production and consumption. And, if your solar feeds in someplace else, as long as it is nearby, the extra CTs can be used to measure production on its own for goal #2 above.
All that’s left to do is some software and application work to support solar (oh yeah, and lots of testing!). We don’t yet have a date — we are still very busy on the core product and want to make sure that is solid before we add solar and other features.