AGL Energy has launched an updated version of its mobile phone app that will allow solar customers to monitor the performance of their rooftop PV panels and – “in future” – to choose when to sell excess solar generation back to the grid.
The update, says AGL, adds real-time analytics about the performance and efficiency of a customer’s rooftop solar system to the app’s existing electricity and gas consumption data.
The app also allows AGL customers to pay bills, view billing information, and to generate projections of future bills.
AGL – which lays claim to being the major energy retailer to launch a mobile app in the Australian market, nearly a year ago – said it added the Solar Command feature so that customers could be more in control of their home energy needs.
“Most people don’t know if their solar system is operating at maximum efficiency until one or two bills later, when they may see a drop off in production levels,” said Stephen Mikkelsen, AGL’s executive general manager of energy markets.
“This loss of production represents a loss of earning potential.
“Now… our customers have information about how well their solar system is performing and if it’s not optimised, they can have it fixed quickly and maximise their earning potential.
“With information like this available in real time, in future customers will be able to use the energy or sell it back to the grid on a daily, even hourly basis.
“Ultimately, it helps our customers manage their overall household budget.
“Our aim is to lead the market and deliver the best digital experience for our customers and the release of our new app demonstrates this,” Mikkelsen said.
On this front, AGL will have a lot of competition, as the industry – both incumbents and new comers – races to develop the smarts for home energy management, based largely around plug and play solar and storage systems.
Arguably, AGL – like the other major Australian utilities – has been behind the pace in the global energy shift to the “internet of things”, as well as on the consumer shift to solar and storage.
Global market leaders like Enphase and SolarEdge are targeting Australia for the roll out of their super smart home energy management systems, which incorporate sophisticated micro-inverter technology, and software platforms that are being constantly updated.
Locally, competitors like Canberra-based company Reposit Power are teaming up with solar installers to offer Australian households their GridCredit technology, which acts as the “brains” of solar plus battery storage systems.
In January, the first example of Reposit’s “set and forget” technology was installed at a Sydney house, along with the existing solar and Tesla battery storage system, giving the homeowner the ability to interact with wholesale electricity markets – “buying low and selling high and supplying themselves in between.”