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GreenCharge: Managing RenewableEnergy in Smart Buildings

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5 Author(s)
MISHRA, A. ; Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA ; Irwin, D. ; Shenoy, P. ; Kurose, J.
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Distributed generation (DG) uses many small on-site energy harvesting deployments at individual buildings to generate electricity. DG has the potential to make generation more efficient by reducing transmission and distribution losses, carbon emissions, and demand peaks. However, since renewables are intermittent and uncontrollable, buildings must still rely, in part, on the electric grid for power. While DG deployments today use net metering to offset costs and balance local supply and demand, scaling net metering for intermittent renewables to a large fraction of buildings is challenging. In this paper, we explore an alternative approach that combines market-based electricity pricing models with on-site renewables and modest energy storage (in the form of batteries) to incentivize DG. We propose a system architecture and optimization algorithm, called GreenCharge, to efficiently manage the renewable energy and storage to reduce a building's electric bill. To determine when to charge and discharge the battery each day, the algorithm leverages prediction models for forecasting both future energy demand and future energy harvesting. We evaluate GreenCharge in simulation using a collection of real-world data sets, and compare with an oracle that has perfect knowledge of future energy demand/harvesting and a system that only leverages a battery to lower costs (without any renewables). We show that GreenCharge's savings for a typical home today are near 20%, which are greater than the savings from using only net metering.

Published in:

Selected Areas in Communications, IEEE Journal on  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 7 )

Date of Publication:

July 2013

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