Gridpoint Connect Series
The Gridpoint Connect Series is an appliance that coordinates renewable energy production, utility grid power, and energy storage for backup power. Essentially, it is the central hub for a renewable energy system. The Gridpoint unit contains all of the balance of system components usually found in a PV or other renewable energy systems, such as power electronics, inverters, charge controllers, and batteries.
Gridpoint Connect Series. Manufactured by Gridpoint, Inc.
Direct current (DC) energy is produced by your renewable energy system. It flows into the Gridpoint unit, where it is converted into usable alternating current (AC) electricity. The Gridpoint unit then tracks the amount of battery backup power it has stored, your current energy needs, and upcoming weather information (e.g. availability of sunlight) and decides how to allocate your energy. The base system provides 10kWh of back up power, though the capacity can be increased by purchasing additional storage from the company.
I’d like to emphasize a few key points:
1) If sunlight is available and the utility grid is up, the Gridpoint unit feeds the renewable power back into the house.
2) If you are producing more than you're using, it'll sell the excess back to the grid with the help of net metering. If solar power is available and the utility grid is down, Gridpoint will continue to power the essential circuits of your home.
3) If sunlight is unavailable (nighttime, thick clouds) and the utility grid is up, Gridpoint will purchase electricity from the grid.
4) Lastly, if sunlight is unavailable and the utility grid is down, Gridpoint instantly switches to battery backup power to continue operating your essential circuits. When sunlight is available again or the grid comes back online, Gridpoint will recharge the batteries.
One of the advantages of Gridpoint is its self-monitoring features that collect and store energy production and energy usage data. The information from your Gridpoint unit is available online, which allows you to monitor and manage your energy efficiency. The online interface enables you to select energy consumption preferences to adjust to weather patterns, utility rates during peak or off-peak grid demands, and vacations. Doing so will allow you determine the most cost effective times to run your appliances.
The largest drawback to the Gridpoint Connect Series is the investment required. At a cost of approximately $12,000, it significantly adds to the cost of an already expensive investment. While very useful, it is definitely a luxury item.