Schneider Electric is making a huge leap into the smart home world.
Rather than launching smart bulbs and color-changing lights, the company is going straight to the source with its new Schneider Home energy management solution, a venture that seeks to empower consumers.
As a CES 2023 Innovation Award Honoree, the company unveiled Schneider Home at the event, which includes home battery, a high-power solar inverter, a smart electrical panel, electric vehicle charger and smart electric outlets and light switches, plus a mobile app to control them all.
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ZDNET spoke to Senior Vice President of Innovation and Energy Storage at Schneider, Jaser Faruq, to learn more.
The drive for energy efficiency
Energy consumption is a global matter: If you live on planet Earth, you consume some form of energy in your everyday life or, like most of us, several forms at once. But energy consumption bears a price and, recently, that price has been draining both our wallets and planet.
The push to discover not only a more sustainable, but also a more affordable solution to energy management, has driven companies to produce smart devices. Companies like Samsung and Schneider Electric are putting a big focus towards a more sustainable future through products that can intuitively work together towards one goal: Save energy without sacrificing comfort.
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Though well-known among electrical suppliers, Schneider Electric and its brands “aren’t a household name for end consumers,” Faruq admits, despite its products being found in about 40% of US homes.
This is a 200A smart electrical panel to give homeowners complete control and insights over their whole-home energy consumption. It features embedded backup controller and critical load panel and is compatible with circuit-level controllable relays.
It’s capable of detecting how much energy is consumed in every breaker to let you monitor which changes to make and where, even giving you dollar estimates for each one’s energy cost. Combine it with Schneider’s new smart outlets and switches and you’ll see what each one is costing you individually.
Depending on your utility company, switching to a smart electric panel like Schneider Pulse can make you eligible for a rebate and other incentives.
Though Schneider isn’t in the business of selling solar panels (yet), the Boost and Inverter have the power to be a big generator of savings for many customers, according to Faruq.
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The new, high-power, 7.6kW inverter converts your solar energy into usable AC electricity to power your home and send back to the electrical grid. It’s only compatible with Boost, a 10kWh LFP battery that can be wall-mounted and stacked.
“We took the opportunity to reimagine home energy placing the customer at the center, then designing a full-featured, integrated system around their needs and paired with an intuitive app to simplify its operation,” according to Faruq.
This single-directional, 11.5hW level 2 AC EV charger is built to work smoothly with the rest of the Schneider Home lineup, all coming together visually in the app.
“You can optimize how your power is being used in the home in conjunction with solar,” Faruq explains. Having a complete and harmonious system opens the door to more options, like “only charging your EV when solar is on and program your house when utility rates are cheapest,” he adds.
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The Schneider Home app gives you the power to control your EV charger from wherever you are, with real-time data for how long it’s been running and control options for users.
The new Schneider Touch smart outlets, light switches, and dimmers round out the electric supplies company’s dive into the smart home world.
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Faruq explains these are created for it all to come together in the app, letting you turn different devices on and off in your house, giving you the power to create automations, seeing the consumption cost of different appliances — all to make your home truly energy-efficient.
The cost of a sustainable home
Setting up the ideal Schneider Home energy management solution can quickly add up to over $10,000 for a medium-sized home (between 1,000 and 2,500 square feet) with two electric vehicles, using the state of Massachusetts as an example.
This would include five Boost batteries to store backup energy for 12+ hours, two inverters, one EV charger, and one Pulse smart panel. Add in five Connected outlets and 12 light switches to expand Schneider Home app control and energy savings.
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Though the startup cost isn’t cheap, the benefits and savings can offset it. Aside from the convenient optimization that comes with automations within the Schneider Home app, like turning different appliances off and on when certain conditions are met, using the Boost battery “saves customers money by storing solar power and using it during the night.”
If you own an electric vehicle, you’ve probably had to upgrade from 100 amp to a 200 amp electrical service, something that could be completely saved with the addition of the Pulse smart panel, according to Faruq. “The smart electrical panel can dial down the different loads in your house,” saving you from spending the extra cash on an upgrade.
Schneider Electric is planning on releasing the new smart home products in the course of 2023, with some becoming available as soon as this summer.