Product Update: Smart Energy Usage Graphs

For some of our members we’ve launched one of our most anticipated products yet: smart energy usage charts.

We’ve just added new, more detailed charts to the Bulb app, so now it’s even easier to track your usage throughout the week.

These new charts make it easier to track the spikes in your energy usage throughout the month, so you can spot the opportunities to save. You’ll also be able to track changes over time so you can see how the changes you make affect the amount you spend.

You won’t see all these changes immediately but you can expect half-hourly breakdowns of your day’s usage and line graphs tracking your consumption to start appearing in the app over the next few weeks.

You’ll be able to see these graphs if:

  • You have a SMETS2 smart meter that we can communicate with
  • Your meter reading frequency on your smart meter is set to daily or half-hourly.
  • For now you’ll need to get in touch with us to change to half-hourly or daily but soon you’ll be able to switch in the app itself.

If that sounds like you, download the latest version of the app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

UPDATE: You can now change your data preferences (between daily, H-H and monthly) in the Bulb Account

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Hi, are there any planned updates to the non smart usage graphs for those of us stuck on older traditional meters / economy 7 meters as you can’t yet fit gas meters when the boxes are on the ground?

Hi @Phillip_PAL,

I’ve had a word and developing better usage graphs for E7 meters is actually something we’re going to start looking at in the next couple of months and I’ll make sure to let you know here when we do. But it could be a little longer to wait.

For smart semi-concealed gas meters (the ones on the ground) we were beginning to install these before the lock-down and I’m sure we’ll pick up where we left off once the smart roll-out is back at full pelt. Certain events have got slightly in the way.

Interesting you have an E7 meter and a gas meter, that would suggest you don’t use storage heaters and therefore could get a smart meter at some point.

I had an economy 7 meter and some solar panels shortly after I got my 2016 30Kwh Nissan Leaf back in May 2016 then moved to bulb in the Autumn and I have been with you ever since.

Although it’s a 5/6 tail meter the extra tails for the economy7 extra circuit are unused it’s purely for the cheaper overnight rates for charging my car for daily 60+ mile commute etc.

I had a small battery system luxpower with two pylontech batteries approx 5.6Kwh storage added last year in preparation for moving to a smart tariff to help avoid the high peak evening tariff.

My annual usage this past year is 90% night time use and in combination with a myenergi zappi charger fitted late last year I have been able to increase my self consumption of solar generated power to 96%, particularly aided recently due to working from home.

I have attempted to book a smart meter installation as a result of various emails over the past year but fail every time due to the sloping lid on the gas meter on the ground which the entire estate has fitted.

I guess waiting 3+ years for the usage graph to cater with economy7 will just take a little longer!

Any plans for the raw data to be available on request? I imagine there are some keen amateur data scientists out there who would like to be able to do their own analysis.

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Will there be an API to access the data, for IOT use (Home Assistant, Google Home etc.) ?

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@Phillip_PAL, sounds like an amazing setup - 96% self-sufficient is how we envision the modern home!

I guess one of our main concerns, particularly for the setup you have, is with those 5 tail meters being replaced by a 4 tail (which is what a 2-rate smart meter would have), that parts of this setup might be interfered or won’t work properly which is why we’ve delayed replacing 5T E7 meters until recently.

On the graph front though this is in the works and is something we’re hoping to get out in the coming couple of months - not too much longer now as you say :call_me_hand:

@alex and @tekmad

This is something we know community in particular is very keen for - and we’re equally so, we think part of having control over your own usage should be having an API that can allow you to download and do what you want with the data. It’s your usage after all and we’d love to see what new innovative uses people get from it.

We are working on it and this autumn is when you can expect to see a release for this.

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Ah I was 96% self consumption of my solar my self sufficiency was 83% in May mainly due to record high levels of sun combined with less travel due to lockdown. Currently 66% self sufficient in June (84% yesterday and 98% today though due to very sunny). Overall this year so far 39% self sufficient as deepest winter months only achieve 6%.

Although I have the extra tails they are not connected to anything the other side of the isolator switch which was fitted with the meter, so a normal smart meter with just 4 tails will be a easily swapped.

My solar panels had record months in both April (29% above average) and May (36% above average and new highest month ever record).

The Weekly production measure saw 6 weeks in the top 5% (of power generated) during April and May (this is more high-performing weeks than in any previous entire year).

The bouts of rain/stormy weather we’ve had in June look likely to stop that from setting new records too though.

I just wish I had more panels! :smile:

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Not quite had our panels for 3 years, March April and May all highest, despite June being mid range to poor it looks like this will be a record Q2 just beating 2018.

Sadly we are moving house on 6th July and the solar meter won’t quite have reached 10Mwh due to the poor June, but it will easily have reached that before it’s 3rd Anniversary.

Our roof is a split east west with shading on one side, and trees in the evening 5pm the other. If I was stopping I would attempt to add 2 or 3 South facing onto the garage and another 2 or 3 on the east side of garage which would be an extra boost in summer and an improvement in Winter.

I will be looking to fit a few solar panels at our house in Scotland South facing on a flat roofed outhouse possibly angled slightly west and east to give a wider spread through the day but space is limited plus depends on any obstructions casting shadows.

Wow. My FiT meter is just approaching 9.5MWh, after 8 years.

As I said, I wish I had more panels - I have 5 moreorless filling the south-facing portion of my roof (and they’re only 235w panels).

Here’s my monthly production chart:

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I have 16 x 280w with the solar edge optimizers due to the shading. on main east side of house the shadow of next door covers a few panels at a time slowly moving across them most of the year around.

I’m loving the variety of data graphics and the May 2020 generation really does stand out when in the bar chart.

The new owner is going to inherit quite the system when you move out, I hope you are able to find worthwhile space for at least some panels at your new property, even if just to see the latest developments in your data API @Phillip_PAL

For the size of installation you’ve got, to have nearly reached 10Mwh after 8 years is around the kind of production you’d expect in the UK @stevefoster Was this a cost decision at the time of installation, or an issue with space?

Space, more than budget. I did have quotes for more, but the installer’s surveyors/designers (/whoever) reckoned 5 would be the limit for my roof (usual UK semi-detached trapezoid shape [3-way pitch]).

I suspect that they could have done a little better with an on-site survey (almost sure about 6, and just maybe 7) but such a survey would have reduced the budget and meant I probably then couldn’t afford more! Similarly, had the house been gable-ended, that would have provided more space.

The leftover budget went on some new windows instead. :smile:

Interestingly, looking at the market for panels now, I estimate I could install about thrice the capacity for half as much as I paid back in 2012 (and with much beefier panels).

I reckon we could make more use of the available roof space if triangular panels were available too (with the same non-hypotenuse dimensions as the regular panels; albeit they’d generate less than half a regular panel).

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@stevefoster Hopefully the windows have helped with insulation (and look stylish) to reduce your energy bills in a roundabout way.

The costs / benefits are always an interesting risk for early adopters of a technology. The government set FIT tariff rates were much higher at the beginning of the Tariff compared to when it closed to new applications this year.

It’d be interesting to see if there’s ever a point where removing the original installation would be financially worthwhile to benefit from the latest spec of solar panels, as there have been some remarkable developments in the sunlight capturing rate (30% increase in one research project for example).

Oh yes, I get just over 55p per kWh now for generation on the FIT (plus a 3.9p export rate [deemed @ 50%]), whereas I saw a post here somewhere from someone who’d had panels fitted just before the end of the FIT scheme who would have been entitled to a touch under 4p/kWh (but actually gets almost nothing because their installation was certified before an EPC was issued).

You could just take energy from bulb at 13p/kWh, store it in a battery, then resell it. infinite money source. (yes I know this is probably not possible)

Not really. All the current export schemes pay less than that.

However (AIUI), you could fit a battery, charge it overnight at E7 rates, then draw on it during the day to effectively timeshift the E7 rate to suit yourself. I’m not sure that it would work out to be good value though.

But I guess that you’re joking with us… (not always easy to tell) :smiley:

Where and how?

(and this is to increase the number of characters to more than 20 to allow me to post this - stupid)