Penn State MorningStar Solar Decathlon
Energy Balance

The primary goal of the Energy Dashboard is to help the occupants of a home achieve a good energy balance. The energy dashboard is designed for the Penn State MorningStar home, but is applicable in every home.

Energy Balance = Energy Produced ≥ Energy Consumed

Today's increasing energy demands require more and more fossil fuels to be consumed which create carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change concerns. And without a reliable to alternative clean and cheap energy available on a massive scale foreseeable in the near future, a solution needs to be found to reduce power consumption and reliance on the utilities from inside the home.

The energy dashboard will help the occupants reduce their energy consumption by showing them where energy is being used to help them control their consumption. By forecasting energy generation with weather data, the residents can plan their peak loads for when the most power is being generated by the solar panels and reduce the amount of energy loss inherent in transmission and storage.

In the solar decathlon competition the MorningStar home will have a battery bank to store the energy collected by the solar panels during the day. Teams earn full points if the energy supplied to the batteries is at least as much as the energy removed from the batteries during the competition. The energy dashboard will be essential in maintaining reduced consumption and measuring power available for the different tasks that must be completed.

When the MorningStar home returns to the Penn State Center for Sustainability the home will be connected to the utility power grid, and will be able to both receive power from the power lines and transmit power back to the power company. The energy dashboard will help the occupants reduce the amount of energy required from the power grid and possibly allow the occupants to achieve a net positive gain. If that occurs, the power company will be sending the residents checks.

Andrew Cassell      Ryan Paul      Teofil Rus         Vinay Thakker