July 3, 2014

Smart Grid Project Saves Money and Energy in Texas

Using smart grid technologies, the project provides 1,000 residences, 25 small commercial properties and three public schools energy data in real-time. Customers can now set and track utility bill budgets, use software to manage the electricity use of individual appliances, and even sell energy back to the grid when they are using less than they produce. By integrating smart meters, solar panels, electric vehicles and energy storage capabilities, the project is already seeing the benefits of smart grid integration and providing customers with control over their electric usage.

June 26, 2014

News

Time Magazine: Is this America’s smartest city?

The Pecan Street devices are even smarter than smart meters, recording data from different appliances essentially in real time. At any given moment, the Pecan Street engineers–who work in partnership with the University of Texas and local utility Austin Energy–know exactly how much electricity their subjects are using and how that use changes in response to the time of day, weather patterns, even fluctuations in power price. “It’s by far the most aggressive [data-collection] project that I know of,” said Ernest Moniz, U.S. Energy Secretary, during a visit to Pecan Street in February.

June 25, 2014

News

Bloomberg on the Aging U.S. Grid

Some consumers are raving about the benefits of the smart grid, too. For Austin, Texas, resident Luke Downs, a participant in the Pecan Street project, access to the smart grid has changed his energy life. “Suddenly, I could see what I was doing,” he said. Downs, 44, lives in a 3-bedroom row house in what’s known as the Mueller neighborhood, a planned urban redevelopment on the grounds of Austin’s former municipal airport.

May 21, 2014

The ‘Home of the Future’ Makes Life Sweet and Neurotic (WNYC Podcast)

There’s a neighborhood in Austin, Texas where the refrigerators tell stories. The roofs are paved in solar panels. There are more electric cars per capita here in the Mueller community than in any residential neighborhood in America. It’s a kind of paradise and it could drive you nuts.

May 7, 2014

News

AC = 2/3 of home summer electric use

Homeowners and utilities in areas with hot summers already knew air conditioning was the dominant electric use between June and August. The latest quarterly research report from the research site WikiEnergy puts a number on just how much of that home electric use comes from air conditioning.

February 6, 2014

News

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visits Austin, with praise

As part of a trip to promote President Barack Obama’s energy strategy, Moniz chatted with local clean energy companies and leaders, including clean technology startups from the Austin Technology Incubator and the cleantech cluster development group CleanTX. He also toured the Pike Powers Laboratory and Center for Commercialization, a testing bed and commercialization facility near the UT campus.

November 18, 2013

Press Release

Report: Residential Solar Systems Reduce Summer Peak Demand by Over 50% in Texas research trial

In most markets, rooftop solar panels are promoted as a way for electric utility customers to reduce their reliance on fossil fuel power and — eventually — save money on their electric bill. According to a new PSR Analytics report from Texas-based energy research firm Pecan Street Research Institute, residential solar systems, and particularly west-facing rooftop systems, may also act as a fairly impactful peak demand reduction device for utilities struggling to meet afternoon demand in hot summer months.

November 14, 2013

News

GreenTech Media: Are Solar Panels Facing the Wrong Direction?

West-facing rooftop solar panels produced 49 percent more electricity during peak demand compared to south-facing panels, according to a new study from Pecan Street Research Institute. The research is the first of its kind to evaluate the energy production of solar panels oriented in different directions. Pecan Street analyzed 50 homes in the Austin, Texas area. Some had only south-facing panels, others had west-facing panels, and some had both.

October 24, 2013

News

EVs and the Grid are A-OK

In a study of vehicle charging in a neighborhood with one of the highest residential concentrations of electric cars in the country, researchers found that owners are charging their EVs much less during hot summer afternoons than most behavioral models predicted.