TwinERGY participant Christmas gathering –  saving money through switching tariffs

It’s December – a time of plummeting temperatures, less daylight and seasonal cheer – with homes displaying festive lights.

Amid this, the country is battling a cost of living crisis and soaring energy prices – with people paying up to 80 per cent more for their energy.

So, a perfect time for TwinERGY participants to come together for a Christmas gathering  – and to find out how the project could help them save money through switching their electricity tariff.

The residents all have solar panels and have been given home batteries by the project which can store their energy for use when the sun isn’t shining. 

They also have an Equiwatt device installed in their homes – which means they can see which appliances are costing them the most and their overall home usage.

Over the summer they became adept at doing energy-intensive household duties during the day – like washing, cooking or charging devices to make the most of their solar panels.  

Some residents did not use any electricity from the grid in the hotter months – and in many homes, surplus energy was generated to be sold back to the grid.  

But now in the grip of winter with Bristol hit by sub-zero termperatures – the householders are keen to hear from TwinERGY partners how they can still save money.

The event hosted by Knowle West Media Centre began with a presentation around tariffs from Sam Gunner from the University of Bristol and Matt Jones from Bristol City Council. 

They explained how during the winter months, when there is not enough daylight and sun, the solar panels generate less than most people use, and some energy must be taken from the grid.

Smart technology in the homes can support the residents to make the most of their solar energy. 

By including weather data alongside personal energy usage data – the TwinERGY system can predict the best times to charge the battery. This could be configured to charge itself off the grid at times when energy is cheapest.

This becomes important, when you look at time of use tariffs being introduced – with different prices to encourage consumers to use electricity at times when more is available cheaply.

Sam said TwinERGY had been analysing the data from the batteries “to understand how much people might be able to save throughout the year by switching to a ‘time of use’ tariff’.” But savings would “depend on the size of solar panels, size of battery and usage habits.” ​

Looking to 2023

Both Sam and Matt will be doing home visits in the new year – when they can look at each individual household’s data to see which tariff would benefit them the most.

And 2023 will also see new apps introduced to help participants understand and interact with the technology better.​

​The Apps do a range of different things, from helping you visualise the contribution to the environment you’re making by reducing your energy consumption – to an “electricity-based social media.​” Watch this space.

The evening ended with a showing of the Bristol Pilot film, featuring some of the residents involved, that had been screened at the TwinERGY conference in Sardinia in September and a shared meal.

And with a nod to the three other European countries involved in the project – there was festive fare from Germany, Italy and Greece.

There was lots to take away and reflect upon…”

The feedback from attendees was that it was really useful to meet others taking part in the project and have a ‘real sharing experience’.

Fatoumata said: “It was very informative. There was lots to take away and reflect upon. I’m looking forward to learning more about the time of use tariff.”

And Danielle said she had enjoyed “chatting with the other people and discussing all the topics”, with time at the end for people to ask questions about their individual homes and issues.

Watch the Bristol Pilot film of the TwinERGY project below: