“Now, ideally, we dictate hours every month or pay a flat fee, and the service provider reads the consumption once a year. However, we could have up-to-date information on how much electricity we consume, and if we could turn off a device and see how much it consumes in an hour, people would be much more encouraged to use energy wisely. For this, we need the systems that deliver this information to the users,” he pointed out Szilárd Széll, CEO of Grape Solutionsaccording to whom software companies can offer solutions to the energy crisis at many points.
Sooner or later, we have to deal with the fact that there are more and more solar panels on the roofs of houses, which produce a surplus in the summer, but this can overload the distribution network and the transformer districts located on it.
“Flexibility will be a defining factor, and dynamic control requires software solutions that can receive data from the sensors, process them, and thus determine actions based on different rule systems. Let me give you a simple example: suppose an office building is controlled by our IoT system. If the anemometer on the roof shows that the wind is 120 km/h, the system will pull up the blinds so that they are not damaged”, Széll mentioned a practical example, but it could also be measured how much energy savings can be achieved by if the sensor detects that no one is in the room and turns off the light. According to the company manager, there are many such possibilities, and examples of their operation can already be found in Hungary.
From large corporate project work to energy communities offering solutions to the energy crisis
Grape Solutions traditionally carries out project work for large companies such as Szerencsejáték Zrt., Mol or the MNB, but when someone books a ticket on the WizzAir website, they will also largely encounter a solution developed by the company, but the company manager mentions the electric also the market-leading charging station search Mobiliti application for motorists, rated 4.8. In addition, they also perform outsourcing work, but the experience of the last two years is that several of their larger customers scaled down their cooperation of this kind due to the pandemic and the market moved towards boxed products.
“In order to diversify customer risks, we also started developing products, as a result of which we now have an IoT base system, which is a generic platform, we can connect any IP-capable device to it, this is one of the engines of our smart city ideas,” said Széll, who says that every year the number of devices connected to IoT systems is increasing by billions, and this trend will not stop.
The demand for boxed products is greater, the smaller a company is, typically in the SME sector, they want a solution as quickly as possible and as cheaply as possible. Thus, when a foreign inquiry came in regarding Mobiliti, the idea came to make a boxed, so-called white label product, because custom software development takes a long time and is expensive, and boxed products will be preferred where it is possible. This is also true for the energy sector, which is why the latest product is aimed at energy communities.
We have developed a solution that, in addition to the current consumption, can also accurately predict the expected production, so the system is much more predictable. The monitoring system not only provides an accurate picture of the operation of the installed solar panels, but also has a number of IoT platform functions, so that household smart meters can be managed in a uniform manner
– said the company’s CEO, who says that the interface is no more complicated than the bill payment systems currently used by electricity providers, but provides much more information that establishes the basis for efficient operation.
It has also become the banner of national and EU politics
One of the goals of the National Energy Strategy is to have at least one energy community in all 197 districts of Hungary by 2030. According to the experts, however, an even bigger breakthrough is expected, depending on regulations, energy communities in the order of thousands may appear by then. The partial elimination of the overhead reduction will probably encourage the creation of energy communities even more at the user level, as this means that the members will have to face lower electricity costs.
At Grape Solutions, they calculate that if this happens, the solution they developed could be one of the basic systems used by the energy communities. Moreover, energy communities are also highly anticipated at the EU level, according to EU estimates, 37% of energy production on the European continent could be realized by such communities by 2050, so the company’s product could even be the basis for international expansion.
“In order to flatten the classic consumption curves – that is, so that these peaks do not occur at the same time -, an intelligent system can, for example, charge the electric car not at 6 in the evening, when everyone else is consuming electricity, but at 2 in the morning . This is particularly interesting in the case of an apartment building, where there are 100 cars and 100 charging points, there needs to be a system that ensures that this is distributed according to some logic so that everyone’s car is charged in the morning,” added Széll, who, according to the current state, when the utility reduction still lives up to the average consumption, but the fear of the market price is already hovering above it, is a particularly exciting situation, because while it provides a kind of respite, it also encourages more conscious energy consumption, which can lay the foundation for the spread of smart metering. Because this is the first step for consumers to be able to make saving decisions.
This article was sponsored by Grape Solutions.