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Project Info ACTIVE Project Title

Market Study of Household Electric Infrastructure Upgrade Alternatives for Electrification

Project Number ET22SWE0057 Organization SWE (Statewide Electric ETP) End-use Whole Building Sector Residential Project Year(s) 2022 - 2023
VEIC proposes to conduct a market study which will include a product assessment of technologies which can minimize or completely avoid the need for an electric panel upgrade or other electric infrastructure work associated with residential electrification projects. The study will include an assessment of the smart panel and smart breaker markets, but will focus particular attention on smart circuits, smart switches and smart plugs. These products may be cheaper than the avoided infrastructure work, thus reducing the cost of and encouraging residential electrification of end-use appliances and devices. Traditionally, when adding new electrical loads in a home, it was assumed at any point this new demand may be turned on at the same time as existing loads, which would overload existing infrastructure. Recently though, with intelligent power management with emerging smart technologies, loads in the home can be prioritized, so that lower priority loads stay off, reducing simultaneous demand to stay within existing infrastructure capacity. This market study will bring additional knowledge to existing IOU energy efficiency (EE) and beneficial electrification (BE) programs to enable more emerging technology electrification measures including: HVAC systems such as air source heat pumps, water heating measures such as heat pump water heaters, and plug load measures such as heat pump clothes dryers and EV chargers without having to upgrade residential electric infrastructure, such as the electric panel. This project will compare and contrast a host of emerging technologies which can be used to minimize or avoid this household electric infrastructure work and encourage the adoption of more efficient electric end-use devices. This project will include the components necessary for IOU EE and beneficial electrification (BE) program administrators to develop a simple, public facing reference document to help customers and contractors assess alternative solutions to minimize residential electrification project cost and time. VEIC will review literature and conduct secondary research to inventory research to date on this topic. Stakeholder feedback from IOU BE program administrator will inform emerging technology priorities and the project will build on existing work, especially with smart panel technologies. Once we identify gaps, VEIC will conduct primary research focused on collecting insights from key stakeholders such as electrical and installation contractors, technology providers, manufacturers, utility program managers, residential homeowners, and property managers.
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The ETCC is funded in part by ratepayer dollars and the California IOU Emerging Technologies Program, the IOU Codes & Standards Planning & Coordination Subprograms, and the Demand Response Emerging Technologies (DRET) Collaborative programs under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The municipal portion of this program is funded and administered by Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.