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Project Info ACTIVE Project Title

REA Systems - Market Study

Project Number ET22SWE0049 Organization SWE (Statewide Electric ETP) End-use Whole Building Sector Residential Project Year(s) 2022 - 2024
The proposed project evaluates the current state and anticipated future of Residential Energy and Automation (REA) systems. REA systems are a new category of residential appliances that combine the features of Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS). HEMS energy savings potential have been estimated at 5 - 22% ("Energy Impacts of Smart Homes". Jen King. 2018…) with control of one or more distributed energy resource (DER) hardware such as bi-directional electric vehicle (EV) chargers, photovoltaic (PV) inverters, and stationary battery energy storage (BES) inverters. These new systems have significant potential to advance residential energy efficiency and demand flexibility by providing centralized and integrated control of residential building loads including HVAC, HWH, EVs, PV generation and BES, plus the potential for improved electrical efficiency of the integrated EV charging system. Additional benefits include increased residential load flexibility in the form of complete islanding for single-family homes under normal grid conditions, which can remove significant load from the grid, and discharging of stationary and mobile BES (via bi-directional chargers), which can add significantly more kW to the grid than islanding. In addition, these new systems can make homes more resilient during grid outages by automatically switching loads to local battery storage when the grid is unavailable.   REA systems are currently under development by multiple companies and certain companies are marketing REA technology today. However, commercial products are not yet available through standard distribution and supply channels, which suggests that available products represent engineering samples or late-stage prototypes. Regardless, with multiple REA systems entering the California marketplace, a clear understanding of their performance, capabilities, and energy and grid impacts is needed.   To address these needs, this project will complete a market characterization based on the products available either commercially or as prototypes including a market survey, literature review, and preliminary energy modeling/analysis to quantify benefits by climate zone and system type. The market survey will identify existing REA companies and emerging products that claim features or functions related to the control of residential loads, EV charging hardware, PV and BES. The market characterization will also identify the number of Californians who are ideal technology early adopters based on factors such as ownership and access to existing residential solar generation, BES, and EVs; access to available utility tariffs and incentive programs; historic carbon intensity of available electricity sources and their relative use by different communities; and duration and frequency of grid service and outage events including public safety power shutoffs (PSPS). The project scope also includes a thorough review of the existing research on home energy and DER management and control. This will identify existing and anticipated areas of product development and existing challenges, as well as research addressing supply-side programs and needs, which will enable widespread growth of REA technology in California and abroad.   Following the market survey and literature review, preliminary energy modeling and analysis will be performed based on the systems and features identified to establish an appropriate residential baseline(s) and calculate energy, demand and GHG benefits compared to existing practice. Analyses will also determine if residential DERs can be integrated with existing HEMS to enable these benefits without the need to purchase a complete, new REA package, which could bolster technology uptake by hard-to-reach (HTR) and disadvantaged community (DAC) consumers.   This proposed project is one piece of a multi-phase project proposal to understand, evaluate, and support REA technology. Currently, this project is complemented by a parallel laboratory evaluation proposal of available REA systems currently going through CalNEXT review, which will provide the necessary test data to refine outcomes produced by this market study. The two projects will be executed by the same CalNEXT partner and have been intentionally planned to avoid redundancy in scope and wasted cost.
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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.