What we need is to come up with some clever way to user power when it is actually available. There is no need to tickle-charge our laptops and cell phones, or to run the compressor in our fridges when the grid is under heavy load. Nor do we need to start our washing machines during high-load periods. But unplugging adaptors, and delaying the start of our washing machines during high-load periods should not be a manual task. First, how should we know when to do so, and second how should we manage to race around our homes unplugging devices all the time. This calls for automation.
This sounds quite tricky! How can one build up an intelligent grid that can use power when it is available in the grid and throttle down when a cloud blocks the sun?
It may sound like a daunting task but in fact all the information to build such intelligent devices is already available on the grid today. All we need is for the appliance manufacturer and consumers to embrace the idea!
A DIY project could be a Tweet-a-watt + Power switch tail / Arduino / relay. Ping the power company, see if it’s peak, if it is – turn off, if not – time to charge.
Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.