Power Genius, a smart appliance controller and monitoring system, is a brilliant kiwi innovation that helps to utilise roof top solar power that would otherwise be sent directly to the grid.
A typical kiwi solar power system will produce most of its power during the 9am to 5pm bracket. For a lot of New Zealand households, a significant amount of solar power isn't being used as the solar power is being generated.
Because most people are not at home to make use of solar power as it is generated this can equal precious solar power being exported to the grid. New Zealanders typically receive around 8 cents per unit for their exported solar power, in other words, day light robbery.
Since the price of power is roughly around 30 cents per unit, it makes sense to use as much of that solar power as you can (off-setting the 30 cents per unit charge), rather than export it; this is how the Power Genius can help you save money in the long run.
Essentially, the Power Genius delays electric appliances from using too much power from the grid, instead waiting until solar power is being generated from your homes system. Hot water cylinders, water pumps, dishwashers and washing machines will wait until there is sufficient solar being generated, and then the Power Genius will turn the appliance on so it can start using solar power, whilst saving you cash at the same time.
There are products available that can help you divert your hot water cylinder in a similar way, but the Power Genius goes a few steps further and diverts solar power to any appliance in your home that you think would work well if turned on by the Power Genius management system.
On their website, Power Genius state that their average customer would be exporting 50% of their solar power without a Power Genius, as opposed to exporting only 5% of their solar power with the Power Genius.
According to my calculations, if you purchased a 3kW solar power system for $9,000, and if you were exporting 50% of your solar power, then you would be saving $898 annually, giving you a 10% return on investment.
If you are exporting 5% solar power with the help of the Power Genius, then you are saving $1436 annually, giving you a return on investment of 14% (which also factors in the price of the Power Genius; roughly $1,500).
Please note the above calculations use the predicted amount of solar power generated in Auckland, which may vary for other parts of New Zealand.
Power Genius also offers the appliance controller as a subscription, the $1,500 up-front investment need not be a deal breaker.
A great option for solar power system owners that like to regulate their power, and for those who are not at home during peak hours to turn appliances on manually.
Find out more on the Power Genius Website.