Home & Office

New Schneider solution retrofits existing electrical panels to add smart capabilities

This could be a consumer-friendly, cost-effective solution to reducing your household utility costs.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Woman checking electrical consumption of lamp at home - stock photo
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Schneider Electric has already taken a big step into the smart home market, but now it's opening the door wider and welcoming everyone else in. The company has announced a new solution that can add smart panel functionality to standard home electrical systems. 

As the company describes, the flexible solution consists of new Square D Control Relays and the Schneider Energy Monitor, which allow customers to retrofit their existing electrical panels and add their desired smart features. 

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"We are facing new and increasing challenges in powering our homes with resiliency issues from the electrical grid and the rising cost of utility power," said Pape Ndaw, senior vice president of home and distribution hub for North America, at Schneider Electric. "We are excited to bring to market an easy-to-install solution that empowers homeowners nationwide to address these issues."

A smart electrical panel can cost you anywhere from $1,300 to $5,000 before factoring in installation costs, which can run at around $3,000 for labor.

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While it's expensive, upgrading your household's electrical system with a smart electrical panel can result in considerable savings in the long run. 

Working alongside a mobile app, your smart electrical panel gives you a visual of your whole-home energy consumption, telling you where the biggest savings opportunities are and pointing out the most energy-intensive areas -- but not everyone is prepared to pay $6,000 to $8,000 for a smart electric panel. 

Schneider Electric Solution
Schneider Electric/ZDNET

Schneider Electric hopes its new solution will help sway doubters: "Unlike some smart panels, this allows homeowners to control only the loads they need to control with the app, making this a cost-effective solution for app-based monitoring and control of home energy usage," said Ndaw. 

The new Square D Control Relays snap directly onto the breakers of the homeowners' choosing, allowing them to add as little or as many as they'd like, and the Schneider Energy Monitor can be added simultaneously. This solution gives homeowners the same app-based control over their existing electrical panels, with the added benefit of easier installation and lower startup costs than replacing their panels.

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The solution is available for purchase nationwide and can be installed by a licensed electrician. The connected relays will cost around $220, and the energy monitor retails for $299. 

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