When thinking about installing a solar or a solar-plus-storage system at your home or business, there’s one piece of information that is of the utmost importance: how much electricity do you use, and which of your home appliances use that electricity. That’s exactly where Lumin can help: the three-year-old, Charlottesville, Virginia-based company is joining the relatively nascent field of creating smart circuits, allowing you to dynamically choose or automate what to power with your solar and storage, which is especially useful in the event of an outage.
How the Lumin Energy Management Platform works
Lumin’s product is best described as “Responsive Energy Management” technology. The primary goal of Lumin is to take ordinary circuits and make them “smart”, which has a number of positive benefits: the product can automatically detect an outage and, if you have storage, govern loads automatically and appropriately; respond to customer inputs and settings to schedule loads and eliminate vampire loads; and keep your home or business operating below demand limits if you live somewhere with demand charges.
Lumin provides a hardware and software solution, with the physical box that sits next to your electrical panel as well as the technology on top of it that runs the systems, which can be installed for between $2,500 and $4,500 (the system costs $2,000 before installation) depending upon the market and homeowner objectives. The product functions by “intercepting” the load wire and inserting control and measurement technology with their own hardware outside of your current electrical panel, meaning a simpler, shorter (only 2-4 hour) and less costly installation than replacing your whole electrical panel.
The Lumin product doesn’t only provide passive monitoring of your loads, but rather actionable insights that allow you to turn loads off or on in your home through their software, either through their online portal or app. This makes the Lumin platform fully customizable for each individual property owner.
For homeowners, installing this product can have a material impact right away. Lumin estimates that even for homeowners who don’t have solar or storage at their home, installing a Lumin can save about $100 per year due to the software which allows you to schedule loads, to eliminate unnecessary consumption, and to turn off any electrical appliances from afar if you accidentally leave them on.
How does Lumin function with solar and storage?
In most cases, installing energy storage requires installing an additional “critical loads” panel. The majority of energy storage options available to homeowners today won’t cover the entirety of a home’s electrical needs. This means that at the time you install a solar plus storage system, you will need to choose what your “critical loads” are–in other words, what appliances and home systems do you need running off of backup power in the event of a power outage?
With Lumin, however, in most cases, there’s no need to install a secondary, critical loads panel. Rather, you can establish which loads are critical to back up through the product’s software, meaning you can dynamically shift or adjust what you power with your battery in real-time during an outage. This is an important distinction from a traditional solar plus storage set up, and one that allows you to technically now have the option of powering any circuit in your home during an outage, so long as you have enough solar energy stored in your battery.
Additionally, Lumin can help protect your solar battery system by automatically shedding any non-essential loads that are too large for your battery system or would deplete its capacity too quickly in the event of an outage. For instance, many clothes dryers pull at least 5 kilowatts electricity when in use, which is larger than the power capacity of the most popular residential energy storage systems. If the power were to go out while you were in the midst of a load of laundry, you could damage your battery, without the type of load shedding provided by Lumin.
What separates Lumin from competitors?
While there are a few primary competitors in the consumption monitoring and circuit-level monitoring space, there are two key ways in which Lumin differentiates itself from those competitors.
First, instead of requiring the installation of a brand new electrical panel to allow for monitoring at the circuit-breaker level, Lumin works with your existing electrical panel and “ordinary” circuits. Their product is a separate box that only requires a quick rewiring instead of a full replacement of your electrical panel, which reduces both the time and cost associated with installation.
Second, among similar consumption monitoring tools that don’t require a full upgrade of your circuit breaker box, Lumin doesn’t just passively monitor consumption but also actively allows you to take action to schedule certain loads or shut them off if you don’t need them. This is one of the primary benefits of installing a Lumin with an energy storage system.
Install Lumin with solar
If you’re interested in increasing visibility into your energy consumption habits and, specifically, how individual appliances in your home behave, installing a Lumin is a great way to do so. What’s more, Lumin’s devices integrate seamlessly with solar and solar-plus-storage installations to help you get the most out of your backup power and solar production. While comparing custom solar quotes for your home on the EnergySage Marketplace and connecting with installers, be sure to ask about adding the Lumin Energy Management Platform to your installation.