Is Sense the smart home monitor you need? We tried it out!

As smart homes, smart devices and the Internet of Things become a reality, several manufacturers are offering tools to track the energy use for all those devices as well as standard equipment you may already own. One of those is Sense, a startup company whose founders developed voice recognition software. The company is betting its home energy monitor system ($299) can take over the niche by appealing to energy-conscious homeowners through its simplicity, ease of use and clean design. Sense emphasizes the value of knowing where, when and how you use power by having a “conversation” with your home — your home talks, Sense “listens.” Sense uses current sensors on the main breakers in your electric panel to monitor all electricity use in your home.  Each device uses power differently, and the key to Sense is its proprietary algorithm that is able to analyze that electric use and detect individual devices based on their electric signature over time. Since ARiES is based in a residential home that was converted to commercial office space, we decided to test it on ourselves (commercial monitoring is not available for Sense currently due to power differences). We installed the monitor November 1, 2016. It was pretty easy; we recommend you hire an electrician to install the system since you’ll need to work in your home’s electric panel.  Sense fits inside most panels and connects current sensors to the main breakers.  For our ARiES pros, it took less than 30 minutes. The Good Ease of installation Simple, attractive App interface Several heavily used appliances (Fridge, microwave) detected in the first week or so Alerts moved us to do...

USDA sets deadline for rural renewable energy grant applications

USDA officials on Oct. 18 announced the next annual deadlines for the Rural Energy for America Program, which provides rural small businesses and agricultural producers loans and grants to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Guaranteed loans are also available under the program. NEW: Join us December 15 in Aiken, SC for a USDA REAP grant workshop! “These projects create long-term, economic benefits for businesses and rural communities,” said Sam Rikkers, USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator. “USDA’s funding helps promote U.S. energy independence and supports the production of home-grown energy sources. I encourage all eligible applicants to take advantage of this opportunity. These investments can help a small business cut costs, expand operations, hire more workers and provide a better service to the communities in which they operate.” Eligible applicants for renewable energy system and energy efficiency loans and grants include agricultural producers and rural small businesses, which may include tribal business entities, rural electric cooperatives and public power entities. Renewable energy sources include wind, solar, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydro-electric, ocean, geothermal or hydrogen derived from these renewable resources. Congress created the REAP program in the 2002 Farm Bill and reauthorized it in the 2014 Farm Bill with guaranteed funding of no less than $50 million annually for the duration of the five-year bill. Applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency grants of $20,000 or less are due by Oct. 31, 2016, for the first funding cycle and March 31, 2017, for the second funding cycle. USDA will set aside 20 percent of the funds for grants of $20,000 or less. Applications for renewable energy...
Power Conditioning

Power Conditioning

What you use and what the power company shows that you used can be two very different numbers.  Power conditioning corrects this problem, saving you money in multiple ways. ARiES Solar Power Conditioning systems help you: Save on your electric bill by correcting lagging power caused by inductive loads like motors and transformers.  Just like fast acceleration in your car will reduce your gas mileage, sucking electricity from the grid too quickly reduces efficiency. Protect sensitive electronics, such as computers and TV’, from harmonic interference that causes heat.  Electronics last longer if they stay cool, which means you can replace costly electronics less often. Protect against power surges.  Large surges, such as a lightning strike, can destroy electronic equipment and cause thousands of dollars in damage.  Our power conditioning system will sacrifice itself if a power surge occurs and our 10 year replacement warranty will cover the system’s replacement at no cost. Want to see how much money power conditioning can save you?  ARiES Solar can test your electrical panel, and along with 12 months of electric bills, we can create a custom proposal for you. Contact us to get started. Want to learn more about power conditioning?  Check out a video from one of our...
Energy Monitoring

Energy Monitoring

If you know when and where you use the most electricity, you can take the next step to control your consumption and your costs. ARiES Solar offers a cost-effective energy monitoring systems to help our commercial and residential clients gain a firm understanding of their electricity use. Our energy monitoring systems can measure energy production (from solar photovoltaic or other renewable energy sources), energy consumption and power factor; having real-time energy usage information empowers our customers to immediately identify energy issues in their building. In addition, the monitoring system has the capability to provide alarms based on real-time data to remind our clients that it’s time to perform routine maintenance of either the consumption equipment or the generation equipment.  These systems can also alert the ARiES Solar team if a piece of energy production equipment is not performing correctly. Learn more about our energy planning services. Energy monitoring can be installed with or without energy production, so contact us now if you want to record your production and/or consumption details, discover energy hogs, lower your peak energy demand, verify meter readings and/or have the ability to accurately project...