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Project Info COMPLETE Project Title

Smart Electrical Panel Market Characterization Study

Project Number ET21SCE0015 Organization SCE End-use Whole Building Sector Residential Project Year(s) 2020 - 2024
The project is a broad market research and characterization study of smart electrical panels to assess industry and customer applications with the objectives of energy efficiency, GHG/Decarb reduction, DSM flexibility, building and transportation electrification.
Project Results
Smart electric panel (smart panel) technology has the potential to provide benefits to customers and loadserving entities. Its circuit-level metering and control capabilities allow for more granular Demand Response (DR) programs and utility tariffs targeting specific end uses. From a customer perspective, there are opportunities for bill savings through scheduling loads during off-peak periods, revenue from DR programs, and energy arbitrage (when there is onsite solar and energy storage). From a utility perspective, peak load shaving by controlling non-essential loads allows the mitigation of network congestion and deferral of transmission and distribution upgrades, as well as distribution system management opportunities. Currently, not all smart panels on the market can deliver on these promises. Many of the devices do not have revenue-grade metering or DR capabilities, and only a few have gateway capabilities that allow communication with Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) or coincident demand control. These are features that are essential to unlock the promise of smart panels. On the regulatory front, the 2023 National Electric Code (NEC) opens the door for smart panels by allowing Energy Management Systems (EMS) to provide load control. This and other proceedings in California, such as the California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2022 Scoping Plan and the CPUC DER Action Plan, provide opportunities to make changes in existing state and utility incentive programs. These programs incentivize the use of smart panels in existing homes requiring panel upgrades due to end-use electrification, and in new construction. Incentive programs should aim to reduce the cost differential between a standard 200-amp “dumb” panel and a smart panel. However, the incentives should only be offered for those smart panels that meet the following criteria: Automated Demand Response (Auto-DR) capability Revenue-grade metering at the circuit level Coincident demand control A communication gateway UL 67, UL 50E, UL 869A, and UL 916 certifications   Existing Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH) incentive programs, such as the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), TECH Clean California, and those offered by Regional Energy Networks (RENs), should also offer incentives for smart panels, when panel upgrades are required as part of HPWH installations.
Project Report Document
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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.