April 11, 2023

Top Trends for Smart Electric Panels in 2023


6 Min. Read

Continued electrification of homes will drive growth in demand for smart electric panels, and for good reason.

The smart electric panel is an increasingly popular device for monitoring and optimizing energy usage and costs in homes. These panels can monitor energy consumption and production in real-time, making it easier for homeowners to manage their energy usage.

Other smart home devices, such as smart thermostats and appliances, can share data with smart panels to optimize energy usage. Unlike traditional electric panels, smart panels have the ability to monitor and adjust energy usage in real time, even down to individual appliances.

The shift to renewable energy, particularly solar, to generate eco-friendly electricity is motivated by several factors like sustainability, efficiency, and cost savings. This necessitates a transition away from appliances that rely on fossil fuels and natural gas in favor of those that run on renewable electricity.

This process is known as electrification, where homes and businesses transition to a sustainable energy source.

One critical step to the electrification of homes is leveraging technology to optimize the cost mix of solar, battery storage, and utility power. A smart electrical panel provides the information you need to get the best out of your energy supply choices. Keep in mind that installing these panels requires a high level of electrical skill and can be more costly than a standard electrical panel. It is important to use the services of licensed electricians with expertise in electrification and smart panel installation.

In this article, we will explore the latest trends in smart panel technology.

What Are Smart Electrical Panels and Why Do They Matter

In short, a smart electric panel is a device that allows centralized monitoring and optimization of energy use and cost. It tells you how much energy each circuit uses and communicates with your smartphone or computer.

Smart electric panels have been around for some time, but with increased electrification, their capabilities have grown from passive monitoring to active energy management. Some even utilize AI capabilities to warn of a malfunctioning appliance.

A smart electric panel differs from a traditional panel that uses circuit breakers to open the circuit when the current exceeds the pre-set capacity of the breaker. Breakers are on-off devices that prevent overheating or even fire. They lack monitoring or adjustment capabilities, and thus are not “smart.”

Ultimately, the goal of home energy management is an integrated system that monitors and controls your home power production and consumption down to the appliance level. It does so in real-time and is easily adjusted. A smart electric panel is the hub of an integrated system.

What About Whole Home Electrification?

In addition to monitoring, reporting, and controlling power consumption, smart electric panels also optimize the power source at any time. Smart panels can be programmed to run on solar, battery storage, or utility power when the climate prevents solar use.

The growth in EV charging stations gives another point to monitor and manage. Smart panels allow homeowners to monitor the status and performance of their EV chargers easily.

With the emergence of solar and battery storage, the trend is toward an integrated energy management solution that uses a single software application to optimize energy production and provides monitoring and control. Not only does such an integrated solution provide the required knowledge in real-time and operate on presets you provide, but it also actively manages your home energy ecosphere.

One great example is Schneider Electric’s Schneider Home solution that automates all these functions. More on Schneider Home later.

Appliances and Matter

The trend for smart appliances will accelerate in 2023. Things like smart ovens that optimize cooking time and temperatures, and refrigerators that automatically adjust for best energy consumption will become increasingly common. The growth of smart appliances will require interoperability-the ability for different devices and software to communicate.

A commonly accepted communication protocol is necessary for devices and software to communicate. Matter, a new communication protocol standard designed for that purpose is rising to prominence in 2023.

Notably, GE, Eve, Leviton, Govee, Nanoleaf and Aqara debuted new Matter-compatible devices at the 2023 CES (Computer Electronics Show). Matter removes the barrier to interoperability in home energy management systems. The result is increasing integration and greater effectiveness of such systems. As more and more components are added to the mix, the need for centralization and simplification also increases.

The Schneider Home Solution – A Bright New Advance in Energy Management

This innovative solution, also introduced at the 2023 CES, breaks new ground in integrated home energy management. It features a one-stop, comprehensive package to simplify increasingly complex networks:

  • Home storage battery.
  • A high-powered inverter for:
    • solar energy applications.
    • Integration to battery storage.
  • A smart panel.
  • The Schneider Home app for overall control.
  • EV charger.
  • Connected power outlets and light switches.

By tying all these features together, you get real-time transparency into power consumption down to the appliance level. You can also pre-set prioritized circuits for transfer to battery backup during outages. Additionally, you can avoid the costs of electrical power upgrades for EV chargers. Finally, you can access utility programs for rebates and qualify for tax incentives.

Schneider Home creates a new, simplified world of energy management. Instead of complex networks of disjointed devices and apps, it automates energy production, storage, measurement, and control. The key is that it does so all in one package.

Schneider Home signals a trend toward simplification and integration as the recipient of a 2023 CES Innovation Award Honoree.

How to Install Smart Panels: Add or Retrofit?

You can add smart electric panels to existing non-smart ones using separate smart modules or by completely replacing the existing non-smart panels. If your current panel cannot serve your ultimate loads, it is simpler to retrofit your old board with a smart one. It is wise to do a thorough cost comparison with a company qualified to help you select and install the right panel for you.

Importantly, installing smart panels involves working with 240 volts of power. Accidents can be serious and even fatal, and damages can be extremely expensive. Unless you have expertise in working with 240 volts, it is wise to use the services of a licensed electrician. Choosing one with expertise in smart panel installation is also advisable, as the technology can be complex.

What to Expect in 2023: Key Electrification Trends

As the world continues to grapple with climate change and the need to transition away from fossil fuels, the trend toward electrification is expected to accelerate in the coming years. In 2023, we can expect to see several key electrification trends emerge across various industries and sectors. From the widespread adoption of electric vehicles to the increased use of renewable energy sources, these trends have the potential to transform the way we live, work, and travel.

The global focus on renewable energy and electrification is expected to continue its upward trajectory. Homeowners, in particular, are expected to play a significant role in driving this trend by demanding more renewable energy sources for their homes.

The key trends for 2023 are:

  • Continued homeowner demand for renewable energy sources.
  • Resulting expansion of electrification and reduced reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Growth in solar panels, battery storage, and EV charging.
  • Increased need for integrated smart panels, solar, battery storage, and appliances – one integrated solution, such as Schneider Home.

Smart electric panels give you real-time transparency on your home electrical consumption. They also allow you to increase your grid resilience by managing energy consumption and reducing unnecessary energy demand.

Getting Started with Your Electrification Journey

Homeowners must ensure safe installations while avoiding pricing surprises and cost overruns. Vetting electricians in each local market is daunting. In addition, technology is advancing rapidly.

Qmerit can help. As the leading installer of electrification technologies, we provide the expertise and experience you can trust in the rapidly evolving world of electrification. With the largest and most qualified network of certified electricians in North America, we have installed more than 269,000 EV charging stations, 18,500 battery storage energy systems, 53,000 solar panel system integrations, and 86,700 electric panel upgrades.

Our unique network of trained, licensed electricians who are savvy in these technologies will allow you to seamlessly embrace a bright new future of integrated home energy management and whole home electrification.

Electrification is our business. We stay on top of new technologies to help you make the right decisions and avoid problems.

For more information, contact Qmerit today.

Author: Greg Sowder

Greg Sowder

President, Qmerit Network