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Smart circuit breakers: The next frontier of the grid edge?

If your home or business is wired for the modern miracle that is electricity, it will have a circuit breaker panel. In your home, it probably sits, largely ignored, beside your electricity meter, until one day it suddenly springs to life, cutting off electricity to a portion of your home because something has tripped.

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So what is the point of making it ‘smart’?

The idea behind smart circuit breakers is to bring the breaker box into the 21st century, and make it more than a mystery and nuisance to anyone other than an electrician.

At the most basic level, smart circuit breakers will incorporate your electricity meter, and allow you to take advantage of variable electricity rates, especially if you produce your own electricity through wind or solar panels. A smart circuit breaker will be able to decide on the fly which source of energy to use for which circuits, meaning when energy is at its cheapest, your solar production may be stored in batteries or sold back to the grid at a profit, but when the grid is most heavily utilised, and therefore most expensive, your circuit breakers will prefer the energy that you are producing or have stored.

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What about for business?

Smart circuit breakers have great implications for businesses of all sizes and across all sectors, especially those with in-house servers, or other mission critical infrastructure. An Eaton UPS distributor, such as CPP Sales (http://www.cppsales.com/Eaton_UPS_Systems___Accessories-catid17), will offer a range of UPS products that seamlessly integrate with smart circuit breakers.

Smart circuit breakers will allow businesses to monitor each circuit in real time through provided apps, showing businesses where stresses lie, and allowing them to add UPS solutions to critical positions, or to relieve load on highly stressed circuits, avoiding problems before they occur.

Smart circuit breakers also have the potential for substantial cost savings, as a home or business can see the power load on individual circuits, rather than only the draw of the entire property, quickly highlighting areas where energy savings could be made.

Unlike many potentially green solutions, smart circuit breakers have a real possibility to save individuals and businesses a substantial amount of money, not just in saving power, but in identifying potential problems before they occur in business-critical infrastructure.

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