LOUISVILLE, Ky. and REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Cloud-based renewable energy software pioneer Virtual Peaker has partnered with e-Radio to connect ‘smart’ heat-pump water heaters to the electric grid.
Virtual Peaker and e-Radio announced a collaboration and a successful integration of Virtual Peaker’s secure, cloud-based platform with e-Radio’s CTA-2045 standardized modules to provide a unified method for utilities to facilitate communications between smart water heaters and the electric grid.
The Virtual Peaker / e-Radio partnership integrates Virtual Peaker’s cloud-based demand response programs with e-Radio’s FM radio technology, which is less expensive to operate at scale than utility-owned cellular or Wi-Fi networks.
In the United States, there are more than 50 million residences and businesses with water heaters that have the potential to use renewable sources to generate energy during lower-cost, off-peak times, store that energy as heat, and then utilize it during more expensive peak hours. The heat-carrying properties of water make it an incredibly efficient source to store energy in smart water heaters until there’s demand for the low-cost, environmentally friendly energy.
There are multiple advantages, including simplicity and reliability, of adapting a standard “socket” like e-Radio’s CTA-2045 that makes hot water heaters universally “grid-ready” to enable utility demand response programs. Like a USB device for computers, the CTA-2045 plugs into a variety of energy management appliances, including hot water heaters.
In 2019, the State of Washington enacted a law stating that new heat pump electric storage water heaters manufactured after January 1, 2021 may not be installed or sold in the state unless they have a modular demand response communications port compliant with the CTA-2045 communication standard.
“At Virtual Peaker, we help utilities connect in-home smart devices to run residential demand response programs,” said William J. (Bill) Burke, the founder and CEO of Virtual Peaker. “Now, our new partnership with e-Radio makes it even easier for utilities to plug into the Virtual Peaker platform to realize significant cost and energy saving—and a greener planet.”
“Consumers, utilities, and industry partners like Virtual Peaker appreciate the simplicity of the plug-and-play e-Radio technology, including our P2D 2045 module whose development began over a decade ago,” said Jackson Wang, the founder and CEO of e-Radio. “Using pre-existing and ubiquitous FM radio signals enables Virtual Peaker clients to securely maximize their reach to achieve cost savings, reduce emissions, and add location addressability to provide societal benefits such as fire mitigation from transformer-line overload.”