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Adelaide Solar City


29 April 2013

Dario De Bortoli, Adelaide Solar City Program Manager

Amanda Murray, Adelaide Solar City Communication Manager
Table of Contents

1. Abstract ......................................................................................................... 3
2. Background ..................................................................................................... 4
3. Trial Objectives ................................................................................................ 5
4. Trial Recruitment.............................................................................................. 6
5. Technology Requirements .................................................................................... 7
6. Activation Arrangements ..................................................................................... 8
7. Demographic & Behavioural Responses..................................................................... 9
8. In Home Display Responses .................................................................................. 13
9. Outcomes ...................................................................................................... 20

Attachment 1: Solar In Home Display Features.................................................................21

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1. Abstract

The Adelaide Solar City program includes a market The headline results of the research indicate that:
trial of new technologies and product offerings to
76 per cent of respondents were satisfied
help consumers better manage their energy
or very satisfied with the device and 88 per
cent were prepared to recommend it to
A key initiative of the trial includes the development others
of an in home display.
participants particularly valued the total

The in home display was initially developed in 2008 household electricity consumption and solar

to provide households in the demand management generation features

trial with near real-time information on energy 94 per cent of respondents felt that the in
consumption and as a means of communicating home display had helped them to understand
advance notice of peak events. their energy consumption with 70 per cent
stating that it had helped them to save
Participants can view their household energy usage,
money (about $50 per bill)
associated costs and carbon emissions in 30 minute
intervals. The in home display also provides weather about 65 per cent of respondents were
forecasts to assist participants to manage their prepared to pay for the in home display with
energy consumption. the majority (53 per cent) prepared to pay
from $50 to over $100 for the device
Based on user feedback, the Adelaide Solar City
program team instigated the development of a solar- software development opportunities include

enabled in home display. the provision of information on electricity

pricing and billing as well as data on gas and
The solar in home display includes the original water consumption.
features, plus new features such as gross solar
generation and total household electricity While the sample size is modest (n=18), the research
consumption. provides participant insights that can be assessed
more fully should a mass market rollout of the device
In March 2012, 66 pre-qualified households were
be undertaken.
invited to take part in a trial of the device, with 25
households subsequently taking part from May 2012.
In addition, the responses included in the socio-
This report details the feedback received from trial demographic component of the survey are consistent
participants through their use of the in home display, with those provided in the broader Adelaide Solar
as well as an overview of socio-demographic City survey of about 400 solar photovoltaic (PV)
information provided by each participant. respondents.

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2. Background

The Solar Cities program is a $94 million Australian management trial commencing in March 2009.
Government initiative implementing innovative Feedback from recipients indicated a desire to view
products and technologies to engage consumers and solar related information on the in home display.
encourage them to better manage their long term
Subsequently, the Adelaide Solar City team worked
energy use.
with two of the Programs suppliers, Millennium
The Adelaide Solar City program which commenced Electronics and Metropolis Metering Assets to
in October 2007 and will conclude on 30 June 2013, develop a solar enabled device. Following software
is one of seven Solar Cities across the nation. It development and testing, a market trial of the
includes a market trial of commercial and solar in home display commenced in May 2012.
residential PV systems, cost reflective pricing,
While critical peak pricing trial participants are
smart metering solutions, energy efficiency
able to view their electricity rates and associated
products and community engagement initiatives.
electricity costs, this function was not provided on
Metering data and census-type information the solar in home display. This was due to the
collected from program participants is being used significant amount of additional software
to measure the impact of these solutions on energy development required to display all the standard
use behaviours. published energy rates.

The trial area incorporates more than 130,000 To our knowledge, the Adelaide Solar City solar in
households across four councils including the CBD home display trial is the first of its kind in
and the northern suburbs of Adelaide. The trial Australia.
area features consumers with a wide range of
socio-demographic profiles from low-income
through to highly affluent households.

Technology has played a key role in providing trial

households with the information to help them to
better manage their energy consumption. It has
featured predominantly in the cost reflective
pricing and residential solar energy trials.

More than 500 in home displays have been provided

to critical peak pricing customers in the demand

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3. Trial Objectives
impact on behavioural change
The solar in home display trial was including estimated bill savings
undertaken to achieve two objectives:
are participants prepared to pay for
the device
test the solar in home display
technology and communication overall satisfaction with the device.
Following are some examples of the in home
obtain feedback on the features display screens.
offered and the perceived impact of
the device on energy consumption

Detailed participant evaluation of the device

was also sought to understand the following:

energy attitudes and behaviours

who uses the device

activation arrangements

attitude to device features

Summary screen
impact on behavioural change

overall satisfaction levels.

The results of this analysis are discussed in

Sections 7 and 8.

The survey included questions on the

following topics:

ease in setting up the device

who uses the device and how

frequently is it used

feedback on the features and any Solar generation screen

additional features the participant

would like included

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4. Trial Recruitment

The Program team was responsible for the The 25 participants were contacted during

engagement and recruitment of 40 the week commencing 11 March 2013 and

participants for the trial. asked to complete the second questionnaire

over the phone.

Pre-screening identified 66 households to be

Participants were offered a $25 Coles Myer
Gift Card for their participation.

The criteria included being an active Origin

Responses were subsequently received from
electricity customer, having a smart metering
18 of the 25 participants.
solution which included a smart meter, a
satellite meter which records gross solar
generation and solar panels purchased
through the Adelaide Solar City program.

In March 2012, a letter was sent to the 66

households with an invitation to take part in
the trial.

Participants were advised in the letter that

they would be asked to complete two
questionnaires, the first prior to receiving
the device and the second six months

Participants were invited to register their

interest by contacting the Adelaide Solar
City call centre.

A total of 25 households responded to

the invitation (38 per cent response).

The first questionnaire was completed

over the phone to capture the
respondents socio-demographic information.
Following completion of the questionnaire,
the in home display was dispatched. Recruitment letter for the solar in home
display trial

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5. Technology Requirements

The solar in home display is supported by a The installation of the satellite meter was
smart metering solution which provides half dependent upon several factors including:
hourly reads of;
sufficient space in the meter box to
- electricity imported from the electricity house both meters
signal strength of the satellite meter
- electricity exported into the electricity grid
which is impacted by the distance
- electricity consumed at the residence
between the inverter and the meter
- gross generation from the solar PV system

as well as related information (e.g. weather the solar panel installer leaving at

reports). least 1 metre of wiring in the meter

box to connect the meter to the
A description of the device features is inverter.
included in Attachment 1. The smart meter was also installed with a
zigbee device to enable communication
The device utilises the existing metering and
between the meter and the in home display.
communication platform which was
established for the Adelaide Solar City The information provided on the in home
demand management trial in 2008. display is similar to that shown on the
Adelaide Solar City Your Power website
Metering regulations require net metered which has been accessible to solar trial
data to be delivered to the Australian Energy participants since 2008.
Market Operator (AEMO). To meet this
requirement, a metering solution was Next generation smart meters will enable
required to enable gross solar generation gross solar generation to be recorded directly
measurement, while delivering the net through the smart meter.
metering data to the market operator.

This included the installation of a satellite

meter to capture the gross generation data
from the solar PV system, in addition to the
smart meter.

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6. Activation Arrangements

Participants were sent the solar in home Figures 6.2 & 6.3; In home display
display by post along with a set of instructions activation
on how to activate the device, enabling them
to self install the unit.

The instruction booklet also provides an

overview of the information available on the
in home display and key functions. See figure

Figure 6.1; In home display instruction


The device can be placed on either a flat

surface such as a table, or by mounting it on
The device is activated by connecting it to a
the wall. The screen will orientate
power outlet (see figures 6.2 and 6.3) and
undertaking 4 steps to configure it to the
smart meter.

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Respondents were asked to advise the
7. Demographic & Behavioural
availability of a gas connection by selecting
from the following responses; bottled gas,
reticulated gas, gas connection unknown, and
The first questionnaire completed by no gas connection. Seventeen respondents
participants captured their socio-demographic reported a gas connection, the majority of
information, and their attitudes and which was with reticulated gas (n=13).
behaviours towards energy use. The results
are summarised below. b) Occupant Demographics

Respondents were requested to answer a

7.1 Demographic Responses
number of questions relating to the
a) Housing Demographics
demographics of the household.

Participants were asked to describe the

All respondents (100 per cent, n=18) reported
material of their property structure with 61
that they speak English only, while 11 per
per cent (n=11) citing a brick veneer exterior,
cent (n=2) reported an indigenous status.
while 33 per cent (n=6) reported the structure
was double brick. Respondents were asked to select their
employment status with available options
The age of the property was also captured by
including unemployed, student, casual, part
asking respondents to select the decade in
time employed, self employed, full time
which the property was built. Responses
employed, and retired. A large proportion (44
indicate that 28 per cent (n=5) reported their
per cent) of respondents reported that they
property was built in the 1960s, 22 per cent
were retired, while 33 per cent are employed
(n=4) advised the 1970s, 17 per cent (n=3)
full time. The remaining respondents were in
reported their properties were built in the
part time or casual employment.
1980s, with similar results for properties built
in the 1990s. The highest level of education attained was
also reported. Respondents were asked to
Participants were asked to select the size of
select a response from primary school, high
their property, with the options ranging from
school year 10, high school year 12, high
compact, small, medium, large and spacious.
school unspecified, TAFE, and tertiary
education. The majority of respondents (56
Medium sized housing (150 249 m2) was
per cent, n=10) advised that they had a
most commonly reported, with 72 per cent of
tertiary education, while 28 per cent (n=5)
respondents advising this size.
reported the high school year 12 level.

The majority of respondents (94 per cent,

Participants were also asked to report the age
n=17) advised that their house was detached.
of all permanent occupants at the property.

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The results indicate that 17 of the 18 disagree or strongly disagree with the
households taking part in this research had at statement.
least one occupant over the age of 55.
In addition, participants were asked the
Gross household income was also reported by extent to which they agree that they did not
participants. The results identify that 5 per spend much time thinking about their energy
cent (n=1) have an income > $150 000, with use, with 88 per cent either strongly
17 per cent (n=3) reporting an annual income disagree or disagree (n=15) with this
of between $100 000 and $150 000. While 44 assertion.
per cent (n=8) reported an income between
$50 000 - $100 000, and 33 per cent (n=6) an Participant attitudes towards the importance

income between $20 000 - $50 000. of maintaining convenience and comfort over
saving energy were also assessed.
As a solar PV system requires a relatively Respondents were asked the extent to which
large capital outlay, it is not surprising they believe that convenience and comfort is
that the majority of participants (67 per more important than saving energy. Just less
cent) reported an income between $50 000 than half the respondents (41 per cent, n=7)
and over $150 000. either strongly disagree or disagree with
this statement.
7.2 Energy Attitudes & Behaviours
The results indicate that over 75 per cent of
The following section outlines participant
respondents are sensitive to energy bills and
attitudes and behaviours towards their energy
about 60 per cent of respondents believe that
use and the environment.
convenience and comfort is more important

The attitudes of program respondents (n=17) than saving energy.

were surveyed by asking them to indicate

When asked if their individual behaviour had
whether they agree or disagree with a series
an impact on the environment, 59 per cent,
of statements related to their energy bills,
(n=10) of respondents strongly disagree or
behaviours to reduce energy use and their
disagree with the statement that their
impact on the environment. The scale of
behaviour has very little impact on the
responses ranged from strongly disagree,
disagree, neither agree nor disagree,
agree, strongly agree, and unknown.
Participants were also asked to indicate the
extent to which they believed that climate
Respondents were asked to indicate the
change was a threat to our way of life. About
extent to which they agree that their energy
82 per cent of respondents (n=14) either
bills were not large enough for them to care
strongly agree or agree with this
about them. The results indicate that 76 per
cent of program respondents (n=13) either

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More than three quarters of respondents that the measurement of CO2 in kilograms
believe that climate change is a threat does not effectively convey the associated
and nearly 60 per cent believe that their impact of energy use on the environment.
individual behaviour has an impact on the
environment. About 41 per cent (n=7) of respondents, were
unsure how much money they could save
Respondents were asked two questions to when they use less energy with 41 per cent
help determine their knowledge of their indicating that they did know.
individual impact on the environment and
how they can save money. These results are significantly different to
responses to this question provided by the
The first question was to indicate the extent Adelaide Solar City control group who
to which they believed they knew what they indicated (64 per cent, n=143) that they did
should be doing to reduce their impact on the not know how much money they could save
environment. Over 80 per cent of respondents by using less energy. It is likely that solar in
(82 per cent, n=14) indicated that they either home display respondents have a higher
disagree or strongly disagree with this awareness of their energy costs than the
statement. Only 11 per cent (n=2) were control group due to their use of both the
confident that they knew what they needed in home display and the Your Power
to do to reduce their impact. website.

While respondents can view their half

hour greenhouse gas emissions on the in
home display and web portal, it may be

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7.3 Energy Efficiency Behaviours

Respondents were requested to indicate how often they undertook a range of behaviours to reduce
their energy consumption. Households were able to select from responses of always, usually,
sometimes, rarely, and never.

The results indicate that while households may report they dont know what measures they should
be taking to reduce their energy consumption; many are actually undertaking a range of simple
measures to conserve energy.

This is shown in the responses provided in table 7.3.1.

Table 7.3.1: Frequency in undertaking energy efficiency behaviours


Turn off appliances at wall 5 1 3 2 6

Minimise use of heating and 7 5 3 2 0

cooling appliances

Minimise use of clothes dryer 13 2 2 0 0

Choose energy efficient appliances 13 2 2 0 0

Wash clothes in cold water 13 1 1 2 0

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8. In Home Display Responses

Figure 8.2.1: Who uses the in home display

The second questionnaire captured in home
display specific information including:
R 18
activation arrangements e 16
s 14
in home display users p 12
attitudes to device features o 10
n 8
impact on behavioural change d 6
e 3
overall satisfaction levels n
4 2
1 1
8.1 Activation Arrangements

All 17 respondents who took part in the follow

up questionnaire had activated the in home Solar IHD (n=17)

display. Of those respondents, 94 per cent

consider the device activation arrangements to The primary location of the in home display in
be easy or very easy to implement. the home (see figure 8.2.2) is in the lounge
room (35 per cent) followed by the kitchen (24
Similarly, all 17 respondents regarded the per cent).
device instructions to be easy or very easy to
follow. Figure 8.2.2: Location of in home display in
the home
8.2 In Home Display Users

Participants were asked to identify which

5% 6%
18% 12%
members of their household used the in home
display. Figure 8.2.1 indicates that the primary
user of the device was also the respondent
who completed the questionnaire.

Dining Room Hallway Kitchen

Lounge Room Office Other

The majority (i.e. 76 per cent) of solar in

home display respondents indicated that they
use the device on a daily basis. The remaining
respondents have reported that they use the
device weekly (as shown in Figure 8.2.3).

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Figure 8.2.3: Frequency of in home display use



Daily Weekly

8.3 Attitudes to Device Features

Respondents were requested to identify which features they used on the in home display. The
features ranged from data on solar generation to weather reports. Figure 8.3.1 shows that all the
features available on the device were frequently used. However, there appears to be reduced
interest in obtaining information on Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Figure 8.3.1: In home display features used

20 17
14 15 15
s 13
p 11
o 8

Solar IHD (n=17)

When asked which of the features they found most helpful/valuable (see figure 8.3.2) the majority
of respondents selected household electricity consumption followed by total electricity generation.

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Figure 8.3.2: Most helpful in home display features

R 10 9
s 8
o 6
n 4
d 2
e 2 1 1
t 0
Electricity Electricity Electricity Solar Weather
s consumption generation-all purchased Generation Reports

Solar IHD (n=17)

In addition, as shown in Figure 8.3.3, 70 per cent of respondents agree or strongly agree that the
in home display was a convenient way for them to monitor their solar PV generation.

Figure 8.3.3: Convenient in viewing solar generation

12% 35%



Strongly Agree Agree Neither Strongly Disagree Disagree

Respondents were also provided with a list of potential new features that could be included in future in
home display developments. The list ranged from providing an alarm when a certain amount of
electricity consumption is reached, to the capacity to monitor consumption on individual appliances.
The key additional features mentioned by respondents (as shown in Figure 8.3.4) was the ability to view
electricity prices/billing information and the inclusion of data on gas and water consumption.

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Figure 8.3.4: Suggested additional features

14 14
R 14
e 12 11
p 10
o 8
n 5
e 4
n 2
s Consumption View elect Appliance Battery Gas & Water
limit alarm pricing /bill consumption powered IHD consumption

Solar IHD (n=17)

Respondents were also requested to indicate which existing features they would like removed from
the in home display. Responses focussed mainly on technical aspects of the device rather than the
removal of features (i.e. the screens being too bright and a technical issue with the export screen).

In addition, respondents were asked if they used the Adelaide Solar City Your Power website as
well as their in home display (Figure 8.3.5), with 65 per cent indicating that they only use the in
home display.

Figure 8.3.5: Use of Adelaide Solar City Your Power website



No Yes

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8.4 Impact on Behavioural Change

The extent to which the in home display influenced the respondents perceived attitude to energy
consumption and behavioural change is illustrated in Figures 8.4.1 to 8.4.4.

Figure 8.4.1 indicates that 94 per cent of respondents agree or strongly agree that the in home
display has helped them to understand their energy consumption.

Figure 8.4.1: Helped understand energy consumption




Strongly Agree Agree Neither Disagree

In addition, 70 per cent of respondents agree or strongly agree that changing their energy use
behaviours has helped them to save money (as shown in Figure 8.4.2).

Figure 8.4.2: Changed behaviour helped to save money



Strongly Agree Agree Neither Disagree

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When asked to provide an estimate of their quarterly bill saving through using the in home display
(Figure 8.4.3), 82 per cent of respondents indicated that they believe they saved less than $50 per

Figure 8.4.3: Estimated quarterly bill saving



less than $50 $50 - $75 $75 - $100

The following responses were provided when respondents were asked to give examples of the
changes in behaviour they had made.

Changed the stove from electric to gas.

Limited the use of air conditioner.
Changed all lights to energy efficient lighting.
Run appliances at night.
Monitor energy consumption and use certain appliances less based on increased
consumption shown on unit.

Respondents were also asked if they were prepared to pay for the in home display. Figure 8.4.4
shows that 53 per cent of respondents were prepared to pay from $50 to over $100 for the device.
However, 35 per cent were not prepared to pay for it at all.

Figure 8.4.4: Amount respondent would pay for in home display

24% 35%

29% 12%

$0 less than $25 $50 - $100 over $100

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8.5 Overall Satisfaction Levels

In conclusion, 76 per cent of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the in home
display they had trialled for nearly 12 months (see Figure 8.5.1) with one respondent being very

Figure 8.5.1: Overall satisfaction with in home display



Very unsatisfied Not satisfied Satisfied Very satisfied

However, there are some software issues which require investigation (i.e. 3 respondents advised
that there were some technical issues with the export screen and 2 indicated that the device
stopped operating at all at some point in the trial). These participants waited until completion of
the survey to advise of these issues.

Respondents were also asked if they would recommend the in home display to others (Figure 8.5.2),
with 88 per cent indicating that they agree or strongly agree with the statement.

Figure 8.5.2: Recommendation to others

6% 6%


Strongly Agree Agree Neither Disagree

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9. Outcomes
An assessment of the survey responses from the solar in home display trial indicates the following

Respondents have found the device activation arrangements easy to follow.

The in home display is commonly located in the lounge or kitchen and is used by the
respondent mostly (i.e. 76 per cent) on a daily basis.

Respondents use all the features on the device, though there appears to be less interest in
Greenhouse Gas Emission data. The most helpful features are total household electricity
consumption and generation. Respondents also consider the device to be a convenient way
of monitoring the generation from their solar systems.

With regard to additional features, respondents favoured the inclusion of information on

electricity pricing and billing as well as data on gas and water consumption.

65 per cent of respondents exclusively use the in home display, with 35 per cent using both
the device and the Adelaide Solar City Your Power website. This is likely to be due to the
fact that the device provides near real time data compared to the 24 hour delay associated
with the on line option.

The survey indicates that the overwhelming majority of trial respondents (94 per cent)
agree that the in home display has helped them to understand their energy consumption
with 70 per cent also stating that this has helped them to save money. The estimated saving
is about $50 per quarterly bill.

Examples of behavioural change undertaken as a result of using the in home display include
limiting appliance use, running appliances at night, changing appliances from electric to gas
and installing energy efficient lighting.

About 65 per cent of respondents were prepared to pay for the in home display with the
majority (53 per cent) prepared to pay from $50 to over $100 for the device.

There are some software issues which require investigation (e.g. export screen not
operating in some instances).

In conclusion, 76 per cent of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the device
and 88 per cent prepared to recommend it to others.

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Attachment 1

Solar In Home Display Features

The following information associated with the solar PV system is shown on the in home display.

Electricity imported from the electricity grid (Import screen).

Electricity exported into the electricity grid (Export screen).

Total electricity consumed at the residence (Consume screen).

Gross generation from the solar system (Solar screen).

The amount of electricity generated from all sources (Instantaneous Power screen).

Examples of the solar in home display screens are shown below.

Import screen Export screen

Consume screen Solar screen

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Instantaneous Power screen

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