energy efficiency

South African energy efficiency company carbonTRACK has launched a ZigBee wireless plug operated by mobile devices in a bid to curtail energy wastage through stand-by equipment.

The plug allows users to turn off stand-by devices using a mobile phone, explains Irvan Damon, CEO of carbonTRACK SA.

He added: “By switching off your appliances at the plug power level, you can avoid the damages appliances experience when connected back to the grid due to load-shedding and voltage spikes. Using your phone to interface with your ZigBee is a first for South Africa.”

carbonTRACK technology uses a web-interface to ‘see’ electricity use in a home or business, and uses algorithms to switch devices on and off as required so as to minimise their electricity consumption.

A proprietary communications stack allows remote switching of devices in under three seconds, using telecommunication networks at an extremely reduced cost. The end results are electricity savings of up to 30% or more. The company can also offer Eskom the ability to remotely switch major loads such as geysers and pool pumps during peak load events, improving grid stability.

Improving PV solar generation

The product can also offer improved energy efficiency for solar generation and solar power usage such as solar geysers and photovoltaic (PV) solar.

“Solar is an integral part of electricity independence,” explains Damon. “There is so much more that households and businesses can get out of their solar power if they have visibility and insight. This ensures that the solar energy generated is used efficiently; we at carbonTRACK call this Smart Solar.

“Consumers with carbonTRACK can see in real time exactly how much energy is being generated and how to best use this in order to maximise the efficiency of their PV solar system, this in turn reduces dependence on grid power. Ultimately, carbonTRACK provides consumers with the ability to make smarter, more informed decisions on how to best manage their energy needs; it reduces their electricity bills and their dependence on the grid.”

Other uses include optimising the operation of up to two geysers, including Solar Thermal Geysers, by constantly recalculating and measuring the solar thermal conversion. This maximises geyser efficiency and ensures that water is heated with the least amount of energy. In addition, leak detection capabilities detect and control a geyser leak, reducing resultant damage from faulty or leaking geysers.

Energy consumers urged to reduce demand

Says Proudly South African’s CEO, Adv. Leslie Sedibe, “carbonTRACK, a registered Proudly South African member company, provides a significant and necessary product to consumers during a time when electricity supply is closely monitored and consumers are urged to cut down on their usage. We are proud to have carbonTRACK on board with a product that empowers South Africans to easily monitor and manage their power usage during challenging times.

The solution can also be used to monitor solar generation and ultimately gives consumers the power to save money. This comes at a time when our government is urging all South Africans to work together to save electricity and help get the country out of its energy shortage challenge. President Jacob Zuma recently reiterated that while government will play its part, every single consumer can also contribute towards energy saving.”

In 2014 the product won the prestigious GAP ICT Innovation Hub Award for its remarkable energy management potential. According to Lufuno Ramabulana, a specialist at the Innovation Hub’s Innovation Strategy Projects and manager of GAP ICT, “carbonTRACK helps households and businesses improve their energy efficiency and reduce the burden on the grid.”

(Homepage pic credit: ennomotive)