By: Kevin Williams
Categories: HVAC Electrical Solar
A "smart grid" integrates the power grid with communication technologies that allow for two-way communication amongst utilities and energy consumers. As a result, it creates enhanced opportunities to monitor and control energy generation, storage, transmission, distribution, and consumption.
The smart grid is no passing fad. In fact, the smart grid market is expected to surpass $400 billion worldwide by 2020. The major benefit it offers to consumers is the ability to communicate directly to utilities about their energy usage which can reduce their electricity bill. This in turn helps utilities with processes such as load balancing and forecasting which results in less waste, reduced pollution, and cheaper energy.
As the smart grid increases in size and prominence, it creates a growing demand for electrical contractors who know how to work with it. That’s because few electrical contracting professionals in the workforce currently possess the skills and knowledge to understand smart grid operations.
In addition, there are opportunities for electrical contractors to obtain certifications to develop their expertise in smart grid technology as it pertains to electrical contracting. These show public agencies and private organizations that they understand crucial aspects of the smart grid such as proper equipment installation and code compliance.
One direct application of electrical contracting abilities related to smart grid technology is through intelligent energy storage. That’s because it uses the Internet of Things (IoT) to connect to the smart grid while also allowing building owners and facility managers to optimize their energy usage and store excess energy to be used later.
The best way to think of intelligent energy storage is that it’s like a "brain" that intelligently integrates with the smart grid to find the most efficient ways to use and store energy. It works whether the energy is from the grid or another source such as renewables like solar or wind power. In addition, intelligent energy storage systems can’t be installed without the help of an electrical or HVAC contracting professional.
One of the main benefits of the smart grid is that it empowers consumers to make smarter, better choices with their electricity. However, they need professionals such as electrical contractors to enable them to take advantage of these benefits.