FLEXCoop aims to install a fully-fledged interoperable tool suite for energy cooperatives and prosumers to trigger explicit Demand Response (DR). The deployment of our two pilot sites recently took place in Spain and the Netherlands.
Twenty users experimenting flexible consumption
FLEXCoop tools are now being tested by 20 pilot users. These users have been selected based on their suitability to achieve the project’s objectives. An agreement clause with the end-users was signed giving their consent for FLEXCoop to automate their appliance to realise Demand Response (DR) events.
The deployment of the FLEXCoop solution in the two pilot sites of the project consisted in different steps:
- Creation of a detailed pilot planning as a follow-up guide with established timeframes.
- Realising trial installations in four friendly users’ dwellings from both cooperatives.
- Selection of pilot users from the two cooperatives in Spain and the Netherlands.
- Complete installation in 20 dwellings in total for both pilot sites.
These four steps are described below and will give you an insight on the complexity of running such a trial.
1. Pilot Planning
The pilot planning determines in detail the installation time plan, selected pilot participants and activities in pilot sites, and description of FLEXCoop equipment to install. It also includes assignment of roles and responsibilities in the installation process, description of all installation procedures and testing (together with FLEXCoop equipment guidelines to installers). Finally, it describes the integration of the FLEXCoop equipment with existing installed devices.
2. Trial Installation
The focus of this deployment was to install of the FLEXCoop components (the communication gateway and the additional devices) in dwellings of four end-users. This phase was key in the FLEXCoop installation in order to
prove the functioning of an early version of OSB and the off-the-shelf equipment in a real environment. It served as a detector of possible problems to be solved before full installation. Furthermore, the trial installation enables to collect early data for the baseline.
Caption: The FLEXCoop Open Smart Box in a pilot user's house
3. Selection of pilot users from the two cooperatives in Spain and the Netherlands
To participate in the project and fulfil the FLEXCoop scope and objectives, the users were selected taking into account several requirements, such as:
- Be part of the living lab in each cooperative,
- Residential users with relevant appliances for the project,
- Residential users willing to participate in the project for 2 years and who are fine with the approach of having a semi-automated appliances in their premises (!)
In order to engage users to participate in the project, both pilot cooperatives organised several workshops to explain the FLEXCoop scope, the participation process, and the implications for participants. The cooperatives asked for people who had got heat pumps as a main heating systems and/or electric water boiler for DHW.
In the Dutch pilot site, the Dutch prosumers were primarily interested in testing Demand Response through heat pumps. The selection of end users in the Netherlands got difficult because of the presence of different heat pumps brands, with different technical requirements and specificities which required thoughtful analyses.
For the final selection of users, both pilots distributed a detailed pilot survey to the group or pre-selected users in order to gather detailed information about the characteristics of the in-home devices. The final group was finally provided a consent form in order them to express their agreement with the terms of the experimentations, their rights and persons of reference.
Caption: An installer connects FLEXCoop to a pilot end-user's switchboard
4. Complete installation
Once selected the final 20 end users who were going to participate in the project, and with all the information about their in-home devices, the pilot cooperatives started purchasing the material needed for the testing the FLEXCoop solution. The purchased equipment includes clamps, smart lighting. It was installed in most selected dwellings by local installer companies. The deployment was supported by the specific pilot responsible director and commissioner.