Dr. Alex Mead, PEER-UC Berkeley’s Lab Manager at the Richmond Field Station, is a member of the EMPOWER project team which recently won two early-stage grant competitions. One grant is from Tech for Social Good and the other grant is from Big Ideas competitions.
The EMPOWER project is working to build better control systems for residential photovoltaic (PV) panels, using technology that focuses on load shifting through the use of “virtual batteries” to optimally control solar panel electricity production. This system allows locally produced PV electricity to be optimally used either on site or sold back to the grid, all while maintaining a comfortable indoor environment according to customer occupant preferences. EMPOWER will be pilot tested at the UC Berkeley Tiny House in My Backyard (THIMBY), which is run by an interdisciplinary team working together to build an affordable, off-grid, 100% solar-powered tiny house. To learn more, visit calthimby.org.