AMP Capital and CSIRO have invested millions in clean tech start-up Evergen, which today launched an “intelligent home energy management system” that can pick the best source of energy between solar, battery and the grid in order to save users up to 80 per cent on energy bills.
The technology, which was developed by CSIRO, can learn the power consumption habits of its users and, combined with weather forecasting, enable the most cost-effective source of energy to be utilised.
The learning and forecasting abilities are estimated to save an additional 20 per cent on energy bills, compared to standard solar and battery offerings. When compared to a house without solar or batteries, the energy bill savings could be around 60-80 per cent.
Evergen chief executive Dr Glenn Platt told The Fifth Estate the point of the system – which was remotely managed – was to take the complexity out of managing solar energy, and to do it “in a way that doesn’t impact people’s lifestyle”.
“The whole idea is that we want to reduce people’s bills and reduce complexity,” he said.
He said traditional load management approaches assumed people would have to take “some form of intervention”, such as turning off their airconditioners at particular times.
“The whole idea of Evergen is we don’t require this of clients. You can have the lifestyle that you want.”
He said the technology was part of a move towards smart homes and disruptive energy products.
“Distributed energy technologies such as rooftop solar are the biggest growth areas in the market globally, and upcoming new technologies will completely change a market that has operated the same way for decades,” Dr Platt said.
“We are already working on a range of product innovations, which will add new options to the Evergen smart system during the next five years.”
AMP Capital chief executive Adam Tindall said the company’s close relationship with CSIRO and experience in the energy sector was part of the motivation to provide funding.
“The emergence of solar, battery storage and smart technology is expected to fundamentally change how power is produced around the world,” he said. “With its ample solar resource and deregulated energy markets, Australia is at the forefront of pioneering new business models in the space and is set to be a global leader. Evergen will be well placed to take advantage of these favourable market forces.”
CSIRO, the developer of the technology, has granted exclusive rights to Evergen.
“CSIRO has been at the forefront of solar and battery technology research for many years, and we are committed to the development of intelligent systems and tools which change the way we use energy,” CSIRO energy director Dr Peter Mayfield said.
“We are now seeing more consumers take control of their household electricity; intelligent systems allow them to do this with ease.”
Currently in early release, the technology includes solar panels and battery units as well as the intelligent management hardware, a home consultation and installation. Dr Platt said it could also be added to houses that currently have solar and batteries. Depending on system size, cost ranges from around $9000 up to $20,000, he said.
Evergen joins similar intelligent management systems like Victoria’s Greensync, which was this week awarded a Victorian government New Energy Jobs Fund grant of $554,886 to support its digital control platform.