The system is currently available in Germany and UK, an extension to additional countries is planned.
“Smart Chap” is a modular home energy management system designed to maximise the domestic consumption of solar energy and efficiently manage electrical equipment in the home.
The basic configuration of the system consists of an electronic control unit, a PV system, a battery storage device, a battery inverter and an electricity meter. The centrepiece of the system is the electronic control unit, which coordinates all the components. The system can be operated via the “Smart Chap” app, an innovative monitoring and control application. The future-oriented open platform approach for the integration of additional hardware and software is what makes the solution stand out.
The “Smart Chap” app can be used to monitor and control energy flows within the home.
The energy manager lets customers monitor the energy flows in their home at any time on their tablet or smartphone. For example: how much electricity the roof-top solar system is currently producing, the battery charge status, and the current energy requirement of the home. The energy manager shows how much and at which time of the day self-generated energy is being used. It also gauges the energy autonomy of the home and shows how this can be improved. All of this data is saved and can subsequently be represented in graphs for evaluation of particular periods.
In the next development stage, it will also be possible to break down the energy consumption of the most widely-used equipment in the home (e.g. fridge, freezer, TV) to pinpoint “power guzzlers” and identify energy-saving potential. This process is called disaggregation.
The “Smart Chap” app can be used not only to monitor energy flows, but also for targeted control of energy storage, the feeding of energy into the public grid, and energy consumption.
The challenge when it comes to maximising domestic consumption of self-produced solar electricity is to get around the fact that solar energy is only produced during the day, yet is increasingly only required in private households when the sun is no longer shining. Controlling energy storage is a way to solve this problem and make solar energy available in the home right around the clock.
Consumption management (peak shaving)
The app already has a smart electricity consumption capability in that it allows users to control power-consuming devices via a wireless electric socket. In the future, it will also be possible to directly control “smart grid-ready” devices. A weather forecast feature is also already integrated in the app. At a later date, this will be used to control the use of electrical appliances, for example to switch on the washing machine or a heat pump automatically if the sun is shining.
Sharp is one of the world’s leading specialists in solar energy solutions, with over 55 years of market experience attesting to our expertise and reliability. The core components of the system, i.e. solar panels, battery storage, and the “Smart Chap” app, were all developed and manufactured in Germany and will be certified by the Association of German Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies (VDE).
Flexible modular solution
The modular approach enables the use of individual components and the control of connected devices. This means that the solution is suitable for both new PV installations and for PV systems that have already been installed.
Open platform approach
The source solution from Sharp uses Sharp solar panels, the 5 kWh lithium-ion battery from BMZ, and a battery inverter from Victron. But the open platform approach is what makes the solution stand out. This means that the system is essentially also compatible with the power generating systems of other manufacturers (solar, hydro, wind) and therefore ideal for nationwide retrofitting. Equally, other manufacturers’ batteries and battery inverters can easily be integrated, as long as the relevant device drivers are programmed. The system’s standard interfaces are continuously expanded.
The consumption analysis feature gives customers a transparent overview of their electricity use. This means they can easily identify “power guzzlers” and replace them if they wish.
When they purchase the “Smart Chap” solution, customers automatically gain access to the Energy Shop, where they can upgrade with the latest hardware and new apps.
The app itself is automatically updated with the latest firmware version. With the HEMS solution from Sharp, customers can be assured that they are constantly keeping pace with developments in the market.
Smart Home extension
In later development stages, the system will be extended to provide an all-in-one “Smart Home” solution with expanded device control. This will enable the additional control of devices such as heat pumps, thermostats, air-conditioning units, lighting and home security.
Upon request of the business customer, e.g. a public utility, the user interface of the software can be adapted to the company’s brand design.
Upon request of the end customer, the electricity company and the installer will be able to monitor all installed systems via the Installer Centre.
The production of clean energy, avoidance of CO2 emissions, and lowering energy consumption are just a few of the advantages for the end customer.
Nowadays, the public are more aware of the importance of protecting both the climate and the environment. As such, the production of clean energy and the reduction of energy consumption are high on the agenda. The user can make an active contribution to the energy transition and ensure that the planet remains in good shape for future generations.
Electricity prices are rising while the cost of installing a solar system is falling—together, these two factors make the purchase of a PV system a wise investment. With the “Smart Chap” solution, users can also control and optimise their domestic consumption and thereby achieve smart cost savings. Government subsidies and tax credits can provide further financial incentives on a national level.
Freedom and control
Customers can achieve much greater freedom and security by installing a solar energy system. They will no longer be bound to tariffs or subject to price rises, and they can control their self-generated electricity with the “Smart Chap” app according to their own situation and requirements. Thanks to the app, the customer will always have an oversight of the energy flows within their home.