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by Julian Spector
October 05, 2018

The energy storage industry is finally venturing out — into the smart home.

For a while now, smart home devices have appeared as trendy tech in search of a purpose. Programmable lights are cool and all, but they’re still lights. Smart thermostats are cool, but they’re just thermostats that can operate when you’re not around to adjust them by hand.

Energy home automation promises something more substantive. If all the major energy-consuming devices in a home can communicate with each other, and with batteries and solar panels and electric car chargers, they can turn the house into a fully controllable miniature power plant.

That horizon is not as distant as I thought. Last month, I went down to see sonnen unveil its ecoLinx product at the swanky Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association Expo in San Diego — it’s like the Solar Power International of people who install high-end controllable devices in fancy homes.

The displays of wall-sized high-definition home theaters and invisibly camouflaged high-fidelity speakers brought to mind an observation attributed to the science fiction writer William Gibson: “The future has arrived — it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”

That's true of the cleantech sector, where technology breakthroughs are not accessible to many consumers.

For this week’s Storage Plus, I'm going to examine how the smart home could influence the storage industry.