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Smart Home

Nest's latest energy program could save you big bucks

But there's a hitch -- it's only available through Nest partner SolarCity.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Nest, a smart home company owned by Google/Alphabet that sells connected thermostats, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and security cameras, announced a Time of Savings energy program on Tuesday, available through partner SolarCity.

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SolarCity designs and installs solar panels for residential homes and businesses and already offers free Nest Learning Thermostats to select customers. Adding Time of Savings into the mix should allow users with Time of Use energy rates and Nest thermostats to track the cost of running their heat or air conditioning at any given time. And when prices are high, the thermostat is supposed to automatically change the temperature to ensure savings.

This feature doesn't sound like a great idea for folks who want control over their thermostat 24/7. Nest does claim that Time of Savings won't ever tweak the temperature by more than 2 degrees, though.

Time of Savings joins existing third-party Nest initiatives called Seasonal Savings and Rush Hour Rewards. Seasonal Savings auto-adjusts your thermostat to find a better balance between comfort and a lower energy bill. With Rush Hour Rewards, your power supplier gives you money to use your heat or AC less during periods of high demand. Check out this list of rewards partners to see what programs are supported in your area.

Time of Savings is pretty limited right now, since you have to be a SolarCity customer to participate, but Nest says it's working on bringing Southern California Edison and other partners onboard. Get more details on Time of Savings here.