2012 – From Smart Meters to Submeters?

While 2011 held the promise and controversy of continued utility smart meter rollouts, 2012 may end up becoming the year of submeter.

Coming on strong as part of the emerging Enterprise Smart Grid market, these devices, which provide visibility to energy consumption at a granular and trackable level of detail, are set to see faster adoption in the coming year.   As government, utilities, vendors and end-users have slowly shifted toward a “prove it to me” mindset, the submeter becomes the weapon of choice to document energy related performance.

While the devices themselves are not new, their use will expand as a result of growth applications which require their capability.  We’ll see them used more by:

  1. Companies looking to gain visibility into the current energy consumption of their largest systems and into nighttime and weekend or “off shift” load
  2. ESCOs providing measurement in their performance contract guarantees
  3. Demand Response providers confirming for ISO/RTOs that demand has been reduced during events
  4. Solar installers needing production detail to be eligible for solar RECs payments and
  5. Commercial and industrial customers producing measurement and verification for their utility rebates
  6. Industrial firms trying to allocate energy costs to specific product lines, cost centers or government contracts

In the past submeters have brought with them the challenge of data management and reporting.  We’ve seen Groom Energy customers who previously installed them across their facilities, but have no easy way to access the volume of information these meters continuously produce.  With 2011’s recent flurry of newly introduced multi-user, Internet accessible, database-friendly energy software management solutions, this burden of gathering, managing and providing easy reporting from these distributed submeters will now be reduced.

And once a manager sees the fabled “energy dashboard” showing submeter energy consumption data, you can bet that manager will be ordering a few more of them…