One of the first steps before creating a design and proposal is to enter the homeowners’ consumption information. There are multiple ways to enter consumption information in Aurora, and inputting it in one place will automatically populate it in the others.
In this article, we’ll be covering:
- Confirming utility provider and rates
- Entering your customers energy usage
- Configuring usage details
Note: You are not required to complete this before creating a proposal. See Entering Customer Energy Usage in Sales Mode for more detail.
To get started, click the “Energy consumption” tab on the side menu in the Project Dashboard.
Confirming utility provider and rates
Aurora will automatically populate the most likely rate in the zip code for your project. If you need to select a different rate you may select it from the drop-down or search for the rate or utility company by typing in the name of the rate or utility provider.
The Escalation Rate will increase the variable portion of the utility rate by a certain percentage each year to simulate the increasing cost of electricity over time.
Entering your customers energy usage
There are 3 ways to enter consumption information into Aurora by selecting one of the following from the dropdown menu under “Input method”.
Selecting Monthly Average will prompt you to select the units (kWh or $) and enter a value into the box next below the dropdown. Once entered, Aurora will automatically enter that same value for every month of the year, and show the annual estimated value below the chart.
Monthly Estimate (1-12 months)
Selecting Monthly estimate (1-12 months) will prompt you to select the units (kWh or $), then require you to input a value for at least one month. Once one month has been entered, Aurora will extrapolate the energy usage for the entire year based on other homes in the area. You can also see the calculated annual and monthly average estimation above the chart.
Note: Using only one month’s bill or energy will extrapolate the annual usage based on a typical homeowner for that location. The more months you add, the more representative it will be for your customer.
- For North America, usage data is sourced from OpenEI (summary here). Each weather station location had a building simulation run on it, and Aurora uses the underlying data to construct a load profile based on the user input of bills or energy.
Annual Energy Estimate
Selecting Annual energy estimate will prompt you to input a value for an annual kWh of energy usage. Once an annual number has been entered, Aurora will extrapolate the monthly energy usage for the entire year based on a typical homeowner for that location if data is available (currently North America and Germany).
Interval data is a fine-grained record of a home’s energy consumption, with readings made by the utility meter throughout the day, every day. Inputting interval data enables you to create the most accurate consumption profiles and quotes using detailed data of the home’s unique energy usage patterns.
Aurora allows you to add interval data in 15, 30, or 60 minute intervals for each project. This data is then used throughout Sales Mode and Design Mode to calculate the energy offset and savings estimates with solar, or solar + storage. There are two options for adding interval data in Aurora:
- Copy & Paste
- Utility API Integration
Interval Data: Copy & Paste
To copy and paste interval data in Aurora, follow the steps outlined below:
- Navigate to the Project Dashboard > Energy Consumption OR plug icon in Sales Mode
- Under Energy usage, click on the Input method dropdown menu and select Interval data
- Click Add interval data
You will then be prompted to enter the following information:
- Start date: date at which the available interval data begins
- Intervals (minutes): in either 15, 30, or 60 minute intervals, depending on what you have available
- Data delimiter: the symbol or space which separates the data you wish to split
You can then copy the interval data (in kWh) from the CSV file or spreadsheet and paste it into the box below.
Note: Adding exactly one full year of data (35,040 values for 15 minute intervals, 17,520 values for 30 minute intervals, or 8,760 values for 60 minute intervals) will give you the most accurate consumption profile. However, when inputting less than one year of interval data, Aurora will estimate the annual consumption based on the data you’ve input.
Once you’ve entered in all of this information, click Save.
Aurora will use the interval data to create a consumption profile, and to calculate energy offset and savings estimates for that project.
Configuring Usage Details
While knowing the size of the customer’s bill is important to determining the benefit of their system, it does not tell the full story of how they use electricity. For example, a homeowner who has electric heat rather than gas will likely use much more energy in the winter months, and a homeowner with an electric vehicle will likely use more energy at night while their vehicle charges.
Configuring the Usage Details helps Aurora know what the projected energy needs for the home will be for each hour of the year and can more accurately determine when they will be importing or exporting energy to the grid.
Based on the consumption information you’ve input, Aurora will create a load profile – breaking down how much energy is consumed by different sources for every hour of the day. The load profile will include:
- Base load (kWh): the minimum amount of energy that the home requires to operate essential equipment such as lighting, refrigeration, etc.
- Appliances (kWh): major appliances that can impact the load profile.
You are able to hover over each hour to see the load breakdown, and toggle between each season. The bar at the bottom of the graph breaks down the percentage for each load during the day.
Aurora breaks out a few of the main appliances that come standard in almost every home and allows you to edit them to create a more accurate load profile.
Note: Editing or adding appliances will NOT affect or override the energy usage values that you’ve already input. It will simply adjust the load profile and energy usage estimates accordingly.
Once you’ve selected an option, you will see the load profile adjust automatically. These appliance selections include:
- Heating (Gas/Other, Electric, or Heat Pump)
- Hot Water (Gas/Other, Electric)
- Lighting (Fluorescent, Incandescent, LED)
- Air Conditioning (Yes, No)
Aurora also gives you the option to add a few non-standard appliances to the load profile. To do so, click on the Add appliance button and select from one of two options.
Adding Appliances: Pool
Once you’ve added the pool, Aurora will show a default energy estimation. Click on the Pencil icon to make adjustments, including:
- Type: shape and dimensions of the pool
- Size (gallons)
- Pump speed (Single Speed, Variable Speed)
Aurora will then calculate the base power (kWh) and monthly energy (kWh), then adjust the load profile accordingly.
Adding Appliances: Electric Vehicle
Once you’ve added an electric vehicle (EV), Aurora will show a default energy estimation. Click on the Pencil icon to make adjustments, including:
- Miles per day
Aurora will then calculate the energy per day (kWh), then adjust the load profile accordingly.