Smart thermostat connects to solar panel app

Microinverter maker Enphase Energy introduces a wireless thermostat that lets people track solar panel production and manage home heating and cooling from a PC or smart phone.

The Environ from Enphase Energy is a wireless smart thermostat that controls heating and cooling systems while letting people monitor solar panel production.
The Environ from Enphase Energy is a wireless smart thermostat that controls heating and cooling systems while letting people monitor solar panel production. Enphase Energy

Updated at 11:30 p.m. with corrections.

While you're adjusting the thermostat when you get home at night, why not check in on your solar panels?

That's the idea behind Enphase Energy's Environ Smart Thermostat, which allows people to control their heating and cooling while also tracking performance of their solar panels. People can use a Web-based application from a PC or smart phone to view solar panel production and adjust their thermostat.

The product is made possible by the Enphase Energy's Internet-connected microinverters , devices attached to each solar panel to convert direct current to household alternating current, rather than through a large centralized inverter.

Environ also hints at some of the possibilities of combining home energy management and on-site energy production through a home-area network.

Home energy monitoring systems allow people to monitor energy usage and to control devices to reduce wasted energy or take advantage of off-peak rates. Enphase Energy's thermostat brings on-site electricity production into home energy management.

"This product introduction is a significant step toward a unified platform for businesses and homeowners to generate, monitor and control their own energy," said Enphase Energy CEO Paul Nahi in a statement. "Converging these elements into a single platform has the potential to both unite and expand the markets for solar, energy efficiency and smart homes."

Solar photovoltaic panels equipped with the company's microinverters can report production information, which can be viewed via the Web by homeowners or installers who can use that information to spot problems. Environ now make it possible to view panels' performance and control a thermostat from Ephase's Enlighten software application.

Enphase Energy said the thermostat is geared at installers looking to provide added monitoring services on top of panel installation.

 

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