Researchers study tools for off-the-grid homes
University of San Francisco researcher Sami Rollins thinks better tools could be developed to help people living in off-the-grid homes — those that aren't tied to utility's electric lines — and she's on a course to create those tools.
See, it's one thing for a homeowner to be interested in knowing how much power their solar panels are producing when their home is tied to the grid -- because whenever the solar power runs out, there's electricity for the grid to pick up the slack. But if solar panels are the only means a homeowner has of turning on lamps or a television or running a dishwasher, knowing how much power is being produced is imperative.
Rollins, an associate professor of computer science, and a colleague from the University of Arkansas won a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study challenges that affect off-the-grid and renewable energy homeowners and to develop tools that can work to address those.
Rollins said the idea for the research came from a friend of a colleague describing the frantic process of running around a house and turning off lights and appliances when the charge of the batteries he uses to store solar power drop below certain levels.
Rollins said she wants to discover more about how off-the-grid dwellers use and manage energy "and then farther down the road, can we automate some of these processes ... and utilize a system that provides them with recommendations for reducing … energy consumptions at certain times or even increasing it when sun is out and you’re generating largest amount of power for that day."
If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.