Product Owner and Friendly User - How Oliver uses and improves Kiwigrid's HEMS

Oliver is the Product Owner in charge of KiwiOS.connect at Kiwigrid. Together with his team, he is responsible for connecting new devices – including inverters from PV systems, electricity meters, battery storage systems, heat pumps, EV chargers and heating rods. At home, he uses Kiwigrid's home energy management system (HEMS) himself as a Friendly User to optimize his energy consumption while identifying potential for improvement in the system at the same time.

From balcony power plant to comprehensive HEMS

Oliver took the first step towards generating his own energy by installing a balcony power plant from Solarwatt on his garage in 2022. His keen interest in technology, his environmental ambitions and the prospect of financial added value ultimately motivated him to significantly expand his setup and install a 9.36 kWp PV system on the roof of his house in spring 2023. Depending on the electricity price, this will have paid for itself in 10-15 years, as Oliver is completely energy self-sufficient on sunny days. 

His PV system with inverter is connected to the loads in his four-person household via the VoyagerX Energy Manager – currently these are household appliances connected via Shelly Smart Plugs. In the future, he wants to add a battery storage system for the PV energy to his setup and also connect his heat pump to the system.

How the HEMS can promote conscious use of energy

Oliver currently uses his HEMS mainly to monitor his energy flows and for PV-optimized control of household appliances that are connected to the system via smart plugs. He regularly checks the generation of the PV system and the energy consumption of individual appliances. This has already prompted him to make intuitive changes to his behavior. For example, Oliver makes sure that he doesn’t run several appliances at once in the morning so that only the PV electricity is used and no additional electricity has to be drawn from the grid. He also pays attention to running the washing machine, mainly when the sun is shining. 

Conscious energy use is also a popular topic of conversation in the neighborhood: at least half of the residents on Oliver's street have a PV system installed and they like to discuss how to best utilize the self-produced energy. 

Kiwigrid's HEMS in the Friendly User Test

Oliver received his Energy Manager VoyagerX from Kiwigrid and installed it himself at home:

"I was able to run through the installer use case myself and was surprised at how quickly and easily I was able to integrate the devices. The installation instructions are well explained and our installation software Smart-Setup makes the installation very easy."

Since he installed his energy manager, he has been accessing his HEMS as a Friendly User. Unlike with traditional end customers, this means that his system doesn’t run on the fully developed production environment, but on a test environment. He can also use this environment to test functionalities that are not yet available to end customers. 

As soon as Oliver identifies potential for improvement in his private use, he reports it back to the company. For example, he has already made suggestions for adapting terminology in the UX/UI to make the user interface even easier to understand. Sometimes he deliberately asks non-specialist relatives whether they understand certain explanations. He then provides the company with this feedback and discusses specific changes directly with his Kiwigrid colleagues.  

Plans for the future

Oliver would like to expand his HEMS step by step. He has already requested a battery storage system and already has a heat pump at home – it just needs to be connected to the HEMS. He knows for certain that his next car will be an EV and is planning to purchase an EV charger for this purpose. With the EV charger and heat pump, two large consumers will soon be added, which will also make a big difference in terms of financial savings in the future. Oliver is looking forward to using his setup to run through all possible use cases for Kiwigrid's products in his own home and to continuously improve the products at the same time.


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