Why Smappee’s Updated Data Retention Policy is Excellent News
Smappee has recently updated its data retention policy, reflecting its choice to retain data for longer time periods. Let’s see why this is a fantastic change for energy monitoring and management. And particularly so for Australia’s apartment blocks, businesses, and fleet EV charging applications.
How has Smappee data retention changed?
Smappee already retained data for decent lengths of time. Now, it will keep a more extensive archive for each user. For the Smappee Genius and Smappee Connect / Wi-Fi Connect, the changes in new data retention periods are as follows.
Data retention with old policy:
Data retention with new policy:
Why is this change a great improvement?
This is a big step up in data retention, and it makes it easier to record and assess daily load profiles across all seasons. If you’re a facility manager, this can give you a clearer picture when you’re assessing available capacity for EV charging at the premises. You can use load profiles to:
Deliver the best possible charging service
Make the best possible use of solar panels and batteries
Plan better for future infrastructure, and
Minimise the impact on the electric grid.
More historical data simply means better decision making – whether you’re managing EV charging in strata properties, or for your business EV fleet.
How Smappee Infinity helps
If you’re looking to make smart decisions about EV charging, the modular Smappee Infinity system puts you in charge when it comes to power monitoring and smart control. Here’s how.
For new EV infrastructure
Are you evaluating a building’s or premises’ capacity for EV charging infrastructure? It will really help to first build up an accurate assessment of the past 1-3 months of energy patterns. With Smappee Infinity, you can better understand how much capacity is left over after typical energy consumption is taken into account. You can also see whether an upgrade to the supply for the building would actually be required.
It typically costs less than $3,500 to have a Smappee Infinity system installed at the main switch board of your premises. Doing so could help you make smarter decisions about charging infrastructure, so this can be a relatively small (yet wise) investment.
For existing EV infrastructure
Of course, if you’re using Smappee for a commercial or public setup then you’ll be using Smappee Infinity to monitor and manage EV charging. Real-time and historical data can be accessed from either your online dashboard or the smartphone app.
Depending on your setup, you can use your Smappee data over time to maintain overload protection and dynamic load balancing of the EV chargers. Smoother charging and better power management at your premises is good news for everyone.
Unsure about your next step for commercial EV charging?
You may be planning to install EV chargers for the first time, or wondering about the best way to go about upgrading. Vista Power Technologies can assist. We can help you build or develop the ideal EV charging system for your premises right across Australia. To get started, just get in touch with our team.
Many would agree that an oversimplified yet accurate way to describe installing and managing EV charging in a strata car park would be somewhat complicated.
The following guide provides insights and important considerations when looking into EV charging in a strata complex. Also provided is a list of solutions that can be combined to make the process much more palatable and manageable.
Key considerations include:
Power Monitoring to Determine Capacity
Electrical Infrastructure Requirements
Load Management to Prevent Overload
Usage Reporting to Allocate Costs
Automating Electricity Cost Recovery
Sourcing Finance for Project Costs
As the authorised agent for Smappee in Australia, and experts in energy monitoring and EV charging, Vista Power Technologies can provide a solution to all the above hurdles. This makes implementing an EV charging network within a strata facility as simple as it can be, by leveraging the latest technologies and best practices.
Let’s break down each of the challenges that may be presented in an EV charging project and look at the solutions we have available.
Power Monitoring to Determine Capacity
The first step any facility should take in evaluating their capacity for EV charging infrastructure is collecting some electrical consumption data over a period of 1-3 months. This is to determine what additional capacity they have for EV charging and whether an upgrade to the supply for the building is required.
For example: the building may have a 200A three-phase supply, but how much of that capacity is left over after household consumption and common loads?
Thankfully this can be achieved quite easily by installing a Smappee Infinity system at the main switch board. This can collect grid import data and provide reporting on electricity usage over time via a cloud-based dashboard, accessible via the free web app.
Typically costing less than $3,500 for supply and installation of this system, facility managers and owners corporation members can quickly gain access to this valuable data and determine what charging capacity they have available to work with.
The other benefit of installing the Smappee Infinity system for this purpose is its ability to be used for overload protection and dynamic load balancing of the EV chargers (see load management section).
Electrical Infrastructure Requirements
Once a strong understanding of available supply capacity has been developed, a decision can be made as to the size of the EV charging supply. Typically, a separate power distribution board (EVDB) will be installed to feed the charging stations. This would be rated to a little above the maximum excess capacity measured during the power monitoring step.
Previously, industry practice would be to install individual circuits for each charging station. This significantly adds to the cost for circuit and earth leakage protection, cable tray, cabling, and labour. Not to mention the issue of potentially hundreds of cable runs throughout the car parking areas to individually feed power to each car park.
Our solution for this is to utilise a specially developed flat cable system that can supply multiple charging stations off each circuit breaker. This significantly reduces cabling and cable tray requirements, whilst also providing a much tidier solution.
One of the key benefits of this cable system is that it can be initially installed as backbone electrical infrastructure. Apartment owners can then easily tap into this system at the time of making the switch to an electric vehicle.
Load Management to Prevent Overload
EV charging is no small load. At 7.4kW for single-phase charging stations, and up to 22kW for three-phase units (when referring to AC type charging), the total potential load can grow rapidly. Just 10 x three-phase charging stations have a load potential of 220kW or more than 300 amps. Many buildings just don’t have the capacity to support these sorts of loads.
This fact alone makes a load management system a critical requirement to any site looking to install many EV charging stations – even when a large supply capacity is available.
Overload protection aside, there is also the need to fairly share the available load across all the charging stations. This is called dynamic load balancing. In a nutshell, the system needs to monitor the available (excess) capacity at the grid connection, and then spread any available power across all the active charging stations.
The good news is that when Smappee EV Wall charging stations are used, the Infinity system installed at the power monitoring step can also be used for overload protection and load balancing control.
There is only an upfront cost to enable this feature on each charging station and no ongoing fees for this functionality. This makes the Smappee EV charging load management solution one of the lowest cost options on the market when considering both upfront and ongoing costs.
Where there are existing EV charging stations on site, or the property owners want the option to use various brands of charging stations, a third-party system can be used for this load management functionality. However, this option does come with ongoing annual fees.
Usage Reporting to Allocate Costs
Okay, now we have the electrical infrastructure and load management sorted. We now need to consider how billing will be managed. Because the power is typically drawn from the site’s common supply, EV charging sessions need to be tracked to ensure apartment owners can cover the costs for the electricity required to charge their vehicles.
Where the strata want to manage things with minimal ongoing costs, the owners corporation can manually manage the billing of apartment owners for their EV charging consumption. This would involve running a monthly or quarterly report via the Smappee EV charging management dashboard, on a per user basis. This will allow a bill to be raised based on an agreed cost per kWh.
Automating Electricity Cost Recovery
If it’s preferable to have billing managed automatically, then there are third-party platforms available including our own Vista Charge service.
Utilising a third-party platform has its benefits, including being hardware agnostic. This allows apartment owners to choose any EV charging station compatible with the latest Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP).
These solutions are typically used for automated billing management, where the user downloads a smartphone app, creates an account, and adds their credit card details. The charge point operator (CPO) then takes payment at a set amount per kWh after each charging session and reimburses the strata owners corporation on a monthly or quarterly basis.
The only drawback with this scenario is that there are ongoing costs, which typically include annual service fees and transaction fees. However, this is often considered to be worth paying to reduce the responsibility placed on property management.
Sourcing Finance for Project Costs
Now that we’ve packaged everything up and are ready to go ahead with a solution for EV charging infrastructure in strata car parking, there’s one final hurdle: managing the upfront costs.
Most apartment owners aren’t going to want to fork out more than $1,000 each to cover these costs. Especially the ones that aren’t yet ready to switch to electric propulsion, regardless of the tangible increased value on their property for EV ready car parking.
With this in mind, we recommend talking to a strata finance specialist who can package up the project costs for payment over a 3-5 year period (for example), allowing apartment owners to incorporate the project costs into their quarterly OC payments. This might be somewhere in the vicinity of an additional $100-$150 extra per quarter.
By managing things this way there is a little less financial shock to everyone, and the barrier of approvals by apartment owners can be somewhat reduced.
So, there we have it. By utilising the right technologies and solutions available, the complicated challenge of EV charging in a strata car park is made a little less daunting and a little more approachable.
Developers Combine EV Charging & Energy Monitoring with Smappee
Residential developers around Australia are capitalising on the demand for smarter, more sustainable homes – and they’re using one neat little box to achieve both. Smappee EV Wall combines EV charging and energy monitoring capabilities in one sleek yet richly-featured system. It’s proving an ideal option for freestanding homes and multi-unit developments alike.
Why are sustainable features becoming so popular with home buyers?
The demand for smart and sustainable homes is on the rise. Energy efficient homes can fetch higher prices: around 2.4 or 9.4% higher respectively for a six- or seven-star rated home, compared to a three-star home. Home buyers are increasingly aware of both the environmental and cost savings that a sustainable home can bring. It simply makes sense that developers would meet this demand. However – until recently it’s been a complex endeavour to include both energy monitoring and EV charging within new homes.
Smappee EV Wall is changing this. This small, attractive system barely takes up a small 30cm square on a wall and complements any architectural style. It looks great – but it’s what’s under the hood that has Aussie developers so invested.
What’s different about Smappee EV Wall?
This European-designed charging station is unique in its design and functionality. Whether you’re an architect, builder or developer, consider these features for your new builds. Your clients and home buyers are sure to love the benefits.
Optimised charging with solar power and off-peak rates
As an electric vehicle is plugged in to charge, the Smappee EV Wall can use Artificial Intelligence to optimise charging from solar power (if the building is equipped) and when the lowest electricity tariffs apply during off-peak times. Because the system can charge up to seven times faster than a regular socket, this supports faster charging when costs are lower. Smart charging schedules can be fully customised based on the home buyer’s lifestyle and driving needs, using the Smappee app or dashboard.
Cost energy analysis and energy monitoring
Home buyers will be pleased that they can monitor their charging sessions, energy consumption, production and costs in real time through the app or dashboard. This makes it simple for households to keep their energy usage and costs low, adjusting settings to suit their preferences.
The Smappee EV Wall is fitted with overload protection, which means blown fuses won’t be a concern when charging a vehicle from home. The equivalent model for commercial applications, called the EV Wall Business, can also support dynamic load balancing for both overload protection and solar-only or solar-optimised charging. This system is ideal for multi EVSE installations.
Because the EV Wall comes with an integrated Smappee Infinity system, this can also be set to monitor and control power consumption across the household. The system will also be expandable in the future to include water monitoring.
Multiple activation options to suit different development types
The Smappee EV Wall is incredibly flexible for residential homes because it offers multiple activation options.
Plug and charge
If the plug and charge option is chosen, the system will be set to simply activate when any electric vehicle is plugged in. Anyone can plug their car into the charger and start charging. This activation method best suits applications where the charging station will be installed inside a garage or a private parking area. This method can be used with either simple charging or with smart charging enabled.
Swipe and charge
Swipe and charge provides access via an RFID card and gives greater control over who can use the charging station, enabling you to install a station in a shared area or on the front wall of a garage. Anyone with an authorised Smappee Smart Charge Card can plug in their car and wave the card in front of the light to start charging. This can be invaluable if you need to keep ‘freeloaders’ from using the system; for example, in the carpark of an inner-city apartment block. The RFID cards can also be linked back to each user to track usage or calculate billing.
Tip: For multiple charger installations such as in a hotel, motel or large carpark, the EV Wall Business and EV Base provide ideal capabilities.
Scan and charge
This third option enables the homeowner to monetise their Smappee EV Wall. Anyone with an electric vehicle can choose to plug in the connecter and scan a QR code to start charging, using an app to pay by Mastercard or Visa. The homeowner can choose to provide discounts right up to 100% for certain users. Scan and charge involves setting up a payment agreement via Smappee, so the homeowner can receive any payments periodically.
Homeowners can also switch between activation methods to suit their needs. For example, if they have a charging station outdoors at their holiday home and don’t want anyone using it while they’re away, they can simply disable the system. If they forget to flick it back off at the end of their holiday, no problem – they can control the system remotely!
Remote monitoring and EV charger control
When residential developers install a Smappee EV Wall in a new home, they can promise convenience to whoever buys the property. The resident will be able to use the Smappee app or dashboard to control the state and output of their charging system from anywhere with internet access. They can remotely start and stop charging, control the speed of charging, and update smart charging schedules to run at optimal times. The Smappee app is intuitive and designed to support both simple and advanced customisation.
Integration options for home automation
The Smappee ecosystem supports an exciting range of possibilities for home automation. Certain charging stations, thermostats, appliances and battery storage systems can be connected with the Works with Smappee network. The ecosystem also supports integration with third-party systems using IFTTT, Home Assistant, and some custom code on a Raspberry Pi.
No ongoing app reporting or control costs
Developers can install Smappee products without any concern about locking the home buyer into costly subscriptions, because there are no ongoing reporting or control costs involved. Once the system is installed, the resident is in control and can access their energy usage and controls via the Smappee app or dashboard. There is no subscription fee for Smappee users.
The Smappee EV Wall station can be installed in under an hour and works with any typical electrical supply, including 1-phase power up to 7.4 kW or 3-phase up to 22 kW. It’s available with a Type 2 socket, or a tethered 2.5m or 8m type 2 charging cable to suit a range of parking scenarios.
Most importantly, it provides future-ready EV charging & energy monitoring for long-term value.
The Smappee EV Wall is a simple, smart and sustainable way to help your properties stand out in the market
To discuss solutions for your development project within Australia, contact the team at Vista Power Technologies on 1300 878 287. We’re equipped to support implementations of any size, from single homes and townhouses to high-density buildings.
By installing energy monitoring in your home you can identify high energy appliances & opportunities to reduce costs
Many people use a set and forget approach to their rooftop solar system but this is a risky and potentially expensive approach. Imagine receiving your power bill only to discover that your system hasn’t been working properly for the past 2 months and you’ve been unknowingly running your house on expensive electricity from the grid. This is where having a good energy or solar monitoring system really comes into its own. The old adage ‘knowledge is power’ was never truer than when managing your rooftop solar and home energy use.
Most solar installers offer a basic feed from the solar inverter, often at extra cost, which gives you information about your solar production. It won’t, however, give you any information about your energy consumption patterns and compare this with your solar production. This is not really surprising considering the core business of inverter manufacturers is not energy monitoring software.
If you really want to maximise your savings by knowing what’s going on with your rooftop solar and your energy usage then you need to consider a quality, third party home energy monitor.
Optimising your Rooftop Solar
With the loss of generous feed-in tariffs a few years back, you need to be using as much of your solar as you can in your home (self-consumption), minimising the use of expensive grid electricity. A complete smart energy management solution will allow you to optimise your solar by simultaneously monitoring solar generation and controlling appliances to maximise self-consumption and minimise cost.
Home Energy Monitoring Versus Smart Home Energy Management
There are many solar or energy monitoring solutions available on the market however not all systems are created equal. Inverter based systems will tell you how many kilowatts your solar system is generating, how much grid electricity you are using and how many kilowatts of solar you are exporting to the grid.
To get the full picture, and to really take control of your energy use, you’ll want something more powerful. If you can see how the power consumption of individual appliances in your home and your solar generation work together, then you’re getting a complete picture. Armed with this information you can really start to take control. This is where Smappee Infinity comes in.
The Power of Individual Appliance Monitoring
One of the things that sets Smappee Infinity apart from its competitors is how it can ‘reach’ into your home, monitoring individual appliances, and balancing your consumption with your solar generation, so that any excess solar power goes direct to your smart appliances. With world-leading European technology, the Smappee smart energy management system can monitor and manage the energy use of individual appliances. It can even identify the ‘footprint’ of certain home appliances using its unique NILM technology.
The Smappee mobile app and Smappee dashboard are easy to use and give you a clear view of all your energy use whether you’re at home, working or on holiday. You can immediately see what appliances are guzzling energy and what your level of ‘always on’ or standby power is. You can even set up rules to turn things on or off depending on the amount of solar being generated, such as automatically turning on the pool pump when the solar generation is high or turning the air-conditioning down automatically when solar generation drops.
Smappee is quick and easy to install by a qualified electrician. It’s clever, modular nature means it will grow with your needs – want to add batteries or an electric vehicle? Smappee will manage the energy flows across these and ensure that it is optimised against your solar generation. As more and more smart appliances coming on to the market, Smappee future-proofs your home and adds value.
The Smappee Infinity complete smart home energy management system ultimately gives you control and peace of mind.
For more information on how Smappee can help you optimise your solar and energy use, check out the Smappee Infinity overview here or feel free get in touch.
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Sam from VPT is extremly knowledgable when it comes to EV charging products and solutions for residential and commercial applications. The customer service and high quality products supplied by Vist Power Technologies are excellent, the after sales support for both installer and customer is amazing, this is a great company to deal with and they can ship to all states within Australia.
Sam at VPT was excellent in helping me select an appropriate EV wall charger for my property. Once ordered the Smappee EV wall arrived within 1 working day.Sam has been an excellent communicator and has assisted me in working through some configuration questions on my unit and is super quick to come back with clear answers and excellent support.Highly recommend the team at VPT.
I purchased a Smappee charger from them and I'm extremely happy. Initially, after getting the quote, I was bit apprehensive about their sparky, but Sam was happy to work directly with my electrician and I'm extremely happy with both (the company's support and the product).
After getting the run-around from several EV charger suppliers, I’m glad I found Vista Power Technologies. They supplied a Smappee EV charger which was promptly installed. Sam has been very helpful, especially helping to solve an issue regarding the interface to our existing solar system. I would totally recommend them.
Excellent service and products from the team at Vista Power Technologies.These guys are at the forefront of home energy management. Sam was super helpful, with high level industry knowledge and was happy to discuss and make suggestions to future proof our property in the installation of our Smappee EV Wall unit.Going above and beyond, Sam also built a mounting post for the unit at a reasonable price and in good time.Totally recommended.
Vista Power Technologies are a first class supplier of EV technology. We deal with Sam and the team anytime we require a bespoke solution for EV charging, solar and renewable integration, and dynamic load management. Communication is always clear and the guys are always available for tech support. Great company to work with. Highly recommended.
Vista Power Technologies great company to deal with.Very professional with great Customer Service, Very Knowledgeable and provided excellent advice.As well as Great products with all documentation in one place.Fast shipping. Great Experience.
Sam at VPT was extremely helpful in providing technical data about the smappee product range which I was considering for power monitoring application. I purchased the system and it was a breeze to install and setup and now I have real-time power data to evaluate the size of solar installation required for my property
Vista Power Technologies knows all about Energy Monitoring & Control. I purchased the Smappee Energy Monitor with the Cloud Monitoring option and can only speak highly of them from my experience. They will help you choose the right solution for your project and figure out the best way to maximise your energy usage in a home environment or in a commercial environment. Their pricing is very reasonable.A big A+ for Sam who help me with my solution and provided great customer service, advice and a willingness to help achieve the outcome I wanted. Their after sales support is also top-notch.
We've installed Smappee in our home and are enjoying being able to learn more about our electricity use and how much solar is saving us. Vista Power were super helpful. I definitely recommend them as they definitely look after you and your needs.