The newest options in microgrid technology for smart spaces provide smooth, sustainable, efficient energy without interruption. We sat down with JC Murphy, Executive Vice President of Racepoint Energy, for a very informative chat about the vast possibilities. And the exciting applications for automated home energy solutions.

Acoustic Architects (AA): Tell us the story behind Racepoint Energy and how it came about.

JC Murphy (JCM): I was building a home for the founder of Savant about four years ago. He had an interest in taking homes off the grid. So we built a solar array above the home and then took apart several Teslas in an attempt to design a method in which the solar panels would work optimally, but unfortunately, we ended up having minimal success. 

What we needed was a way to back up the solar power when the grid went down and at the same time monitor the amount of energy the home was sourcing. That need lead to the creation of a product for monitoring power at the plug level. Then we found the battery element. We decided to market it as a microgrid, including solar, battery, and generator power. That was the inception of Racepoint Energy. 

AA: What was the reason for taking the house off the grid in the first place?

JCM: Environmental Stewardship! It is eco-friendly, utilizing more sources of “green” renewable energy. Secondly, it provides increased safety & security. The United States power grid is amazing but it is really old. People are experiencing brownouts and blackouts due to both the grid age and natural disasters. If the grid goes down, a home experiences outages which can lead to any number of problems. And third, there is a marked financial benefit. Federal and State incentives are in place for microgrid based energy. The homeowner starts to save 30 to 50% on their energy bill, depending on the size, structure, and geographical location of the home. And the initial investment pays for itself in 3-5 years. 

AA: Why is it important for people to invest in energy solutions that they can control?

JCM: The problem with the grid will magnify as the population explodes. We are already seeing insanely poor power quality in NYC, New England, and California. But in Florida, it is still largely stable aside from instances that include natural disasters. We have to educate the public because most people have not yet experienced these issues. But they are going to. Also, consider the growing trend toward electrical cars, which will also affect the strain on the power grid. 

AA: The Racepoint Nano Grid is an example of a microgrid. Why is it such a brilliant power solution for residential homeowners?

JCM: The Nano Grid gives homeowners control of their destiny. It offers the safety, security, eco-friendly, and financially savvy freedom I mentioned earlier. Homeowners are in control of their own energy production and consumption, including management of phantom power. 23% of all electricity used in US homes is consumed by electronics that are not even turned on. Any time something is plugged in, it is asking for power from the home’s energy source. The Nano Grid monitors and manages this load for the homeowner. 

AA: Why is Racepoint’s Nano Grid superior to just using solar panels?

JCM: Most people believe they can use solar power as long as the sun is out. If the power is out you cannot use solar generated energy. People don’t usually realize this until after they’ve had their solar panels installed. Even if they have a generator to back up the solar panels, they will experience about one minute of outage time when the grid goes down. Then the entire system has to reboot. With our microgrid, the homeowner never knows they’ve experienced an outage. 

AA: Can you give us an example of that in action?

JCM: Sure. Take the Carolinas for instance. The homes need generators for constant power due to coastal issues and being in the very near vicinity of waterways. If the power goes out, the pumps lose time. But when a system includes batteries, there is no time lapse. It is wicked fast. 

Such exciting news! And that’s not all. Wait for it. Part 2 of our interview with JC is next week.

Responsive Living, the term coined by Acoustic Architects founders, Aaron Flint and Spencer Hauldren, is the concept of seamlessly enhancing the client’s unique lifestyle using smart home technology. Responsive Living allows you to interact with your space via touch input, voice command, and predictive automation, placing you in full control of your home.

If you would like to learn more about sustainable energy solutions for your smart home, feel free to connect with us. We will be happy to schedule a demo with you.

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