A PV system on a 6-inch screen
Benjamin Blaurock and his team developed two apps at the same time last year: SMA 360° is a digital all-purpose tool to support installers in their daily business. With SMA Energy, plant operators keep an eye on their energy system at all times and can charge their electrical vehicle intelligently. In this interview, he talks about the launch of the mobile applications, what new features will soon be available and when intelligent energy management will be possible with SMA Energy.
What are the differences between the SMA 360° and SMA Energy apps?
SMA 360° supports solar power professionals in the three areas of Planning & Simulation, Monitoring and Service. For this purpose, we have taken our established tools for system planning, commissioning and system monitoring and combined them in one digital universal tool. With this tool, we can offer solar power professionals comprehensive support, all the way up to providing the right repair instructions for servicing applications.
SMA Energy is an app for system operators. With this app, we are linking the energy transition at home with the shift toward electric vehicles on the road. The aim is to get everything to do with energy across as clearly and simply as possible. System operators can visualize data for their PV systems, use recommendations for economical energy supply to optimize their energy flows and even make use of smart charging for their electric vehicles. Ideally, of course, using solar power from their own systems. ?
We have also integrated a news function that can help keep users informed about important developments relating to renewable energy. After all, the energy transition affects all of us.
To start with, many system operators also downloaded SMA 360° but couldn’t get anywhere with it. There was already a sense of annoyance building about that.
That’s right. We should have done a better job of communicating that the app for end customers wouldn’t be coming along until later. We are of course very sorry for confusing system operators like that at first. Despite that, it was a very valuable experience for us. That is because the feedback from system operators demonstrated just how much demand there is for such an app. That gave us an extra boost of motivation in the development process.
One thing that was absolutely imperative for us with SMA Energy was that we wanted to make it possible to charge your electric car efficiently with solar power from your own system, because only then is the process truly sustainable. With the SMA EV Charger, we have integrated an entirely new product into the system chain. That was a challenge. There were a few issues along the way, but it was definitely worth it in the end. That’s what we’re hearing from customers as well, and that’s the best endorsement there is.
By the way, what are you doing with the feedback from users?
Most of the feedback is very constructive. We know how important that is, because it helps us optimize both apps. Ultimately, of course, it needs to speak the language of as many customers as possible. We may not be able to accommodate every request, but we are constantly working on development. We are already going to be implementing some important and frequently submitted feedback in the next release in February.
What exactly are the new features?
With SMA 360°, we have integrated the link to live data and now also consider more customized electricity rates for more accurate cost-effectiveness calculations on different markets. We are also enabling additional rooftop positioning in planning. For example, east–west orientations can now be simulated as well.
For SMA Energy, we have also adjusted the way that diagrams are shown, presenting them in landscape format so that they are always available full-screen on the display. That means that it is also possible to access specific figures on generation, consumption and grid feed-in via the diagram. The integration of the SMA EV Charger is also now a smoother process. There have been a few snags in this respect. Sometimes, though, that is partly due to the configuration of the user’s system or smartphone, which is of course not something that the app can resolve, but instead calls for servicing.
When will system operators be able to manage their energy systems with SMA Energy?
We are planning to incorporate smart energy management this year. Initially, it will be possible for the first time to visualize individual loads such as washing machines and dishwashers and to manage switchable loads.
The second step will be to integrate key configuration settings for the Sunny Home Manager into the app. Users will then be able to tailor their self-consumption even more specifically to their own needs, no matter where they are.
International markets differ significantly. How does this affect the further development of the apps?
That means that we can’t just have one app for all markets, but instead need to make local adjustments. One example is the commissioning process. We are currently working on an app-based version of this and seeing that as a target group, installers have widely varying requirements depending on where they are in the world.
While in Europe, an installer will install and commission a system from start to finish, there are markets such as the U.S. in which these are frequently separate jobs, with one skilled person dealing with electrical installation and connecting the system to the local utility grid and another then taking over to configure the components – sometimes remotely! In other words, we need different levels of communications and functions depending on the area. Our goal is a simple and comprehensive commissioning assistant that provides step-by-step guidance through the commissioning of the complete system.
What’s next for mobile applications?
Smartphones and tablets are getting more powerful all the time. Many new and, in some cases, very specialist possible uses are being created for them. I am very interested in new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality and how to integrate them into the existing range. For example, SMA could provide live support for an installer carrying out repairs on an inverter.
And people who are interested in a solar power system, could use their smartphones to quickly visualize modules on their roofs and calculate their potential savings. Things like that produce interesting links that my team and I are always happy to work on developing. We certainly have no shortage of ideas and our customers have a lot to look forward to. ?
You are a plant operator and want to keep an eye on your solar plant?
You are an installer and are looking for a digital universal tool that supports you professionally in your daily work?
Hi SMA Team,
We have been using your products for many years. These apps are a large step forward. Well done.
We have a large offgird system with MC Box 36 and Datamanager M. Do you have plans for the SMA Energy app to support offgrid systems like ours? Currently the SMA Energy app shows our solar production But No batteries or load.
Robert from Australia
Hello, I have a sunny boy system 8years old it works fine but the led display
Has stopped working .Will this be expensive to fix ? The local company that installed it haven’t returned my calls so I am wondering if it’s a difficult process to fix it . Thank you. Rod Harris.
Please get back to the SMA Service via our SMA Online Service Center.
We need more technical information in order to support you.
When will the SMA 360 and Energy app be available in Norway?
Sorry for the very delayed reply, but good news finally:
Both apps will be available next week.
When will the SMA Energy app be available in Canada?
We are currently checking whether country-specific adjustments are still required.
As soon as they are realized, it is planned to publish the SMA Energy App in Canada in mid-2021 at the latest.
My current Zever app…. well.. sucks really.
Apparently the data traffic is coming.. been a year so far. It would be nice to have an applike the one featured in the blog photo. At the moment I don’t have any incoming outgoing usage detail . A simple graphic diagram of real time usage would be fantastic. How do I get this on y phone. I am in Australia. On
here you will find a full overview on our current digital solutions.
Yesterday I asked a question which the moderator instead of answering, deleted it. I ask again when the SMA 360 application will be available in Poland? The current version of Sunny Portal is catastrophically weak. Cheap Chinese producers have better apps.
We will never delete questions here on our SMA Blog.
But please allow some time before we get back.
As you see, your question is answered.
In case you need further assistance, you are welcome to get back to us.
my question has disappeared for few days, therefore I wrote again. Now it’s ok.
Thank you very much for your kind assistance.
When will the SMA 360 application be available in Poland? Sunny Portal on the phone is a total failure. Cheap Chinese products have a better phone app.
The SMA 360 App as well as the SMA Energy app will be available in local language in Poland next week (CW9).
We are currently preparing the market launch.
thank you very much for your reply.
in that case, I can’t wait :-).