When the owners of a mountaintop home in the Ozarks region of northern Arkansas decided to make the move to solar energy they had three priorities: gain energy independence to live grid free, have the control to monitor and manage their energy to optimize cost savings, and finance the entire system with a payment less than or equal to their previous electric bill.
Their Ozark Mountain location enjoys ample sunshine to power their home’s solar system in the summer months, but faces a year-long threat of severe storms with frequent power outages – both considerations that underscored the couple’s aspiration to live grid free.
Except for a gas furnace and stove, the house is powered by electricity, including the wife’s pottery studio and the husband’s woodworking shop. The pottery kiln in particular consumes large amounts of electricity. They also have future plans to purchase an EV and when the gas furnace approaches its end of life will switch to electric heating.
Visibility and control were important too. They wanted a system with a robust smart app that would let them monitor and manage the percentage of energy going to the home’s various circuits, the battery system, or back to the grid – anywhere and at any time.
Their financing priority was simple: payments for their system must be no more than their previous monthly electric bill.
The couple decided on a 16.6-kilowatt solar system. Based on all estimates, they were confident that the 41-panel system would adequately support off-grid living – but only if they had the right energy storage system.
The Franklin Home Power system met all of their criteria:
1. Energy independence to live grid free
2. Visibility to monitor and optimize their power consumption and available energy
3. Freedom to enjoy the benefits of sustainable renewable energy cost-effectively.
Living on a rock-based mountain made placing the batteries in the garage a major challenge. That’s because doing so would require digging a 110-foot trench from the meters behind the house. Instead, they decided to place them in an open-air portico where the batteries could potentially be exposed to the weather. However, knowing that the battery has been rigorously tested in extreme conditions gave the homeowner peace of mind.
The aPower is rated UL950A, which covers both outdoor and indoor installations. That’s a critical distinction since some residential batteries have a UL9540A rating and only meet the less stringent indoor testing requirements. It also has an ingress protection rating of 67 (IP 67) which is considered “waterproof”.
The solution consists of two integrated components: the aGate, an industry-leading, intelligent panel that can control energy from the grid, solar, battery, or generator, and the aPower, a super-robust, high-capacity AC-coupled battery. FWP also includes the Franklin Whole Home (FranklinWH) App which allows owners to manage their home energy system anytime, anywhere by personally setting different economic and energy-saving household electricity schemes.
Based on their current power demands, the Franklin team recommended two 13.6 kWh aPower batteries totaling 27.2 kWh of storage capacity. Designed to be modular, additional batteries can be easily installed later, should the homeowner’s needs change.
When outages occur, FHP switches to backup battery power in less than 16ms, protecting electrical devices from damage and providing continuous power to the home. The homeowner cited a recent outage when the battery system kicked in so quickly that they didn’t even need to reset the clocks on the kitchen stove.
The FranklinWH App provides robust information and tools to manage energy costs, including historical and real-time energy usage data and load-shifting options. Homeowners can control priorities for allocating renewable energy to loads, the battery system, and the grid. They can also set up utility rates for peak, off-peak and shoulder periods. In this instance, the homeowner actively leverages the app to set up parameters within the aGate: optimizing the timing of feeding back power to the grid and ensuring that grid energy imports are minimized and that solar energy is stored and used most efficiently.
The system also includes Smart Circuits, a feature only available with FHP. Smart Circuits allow homeowners to optimize the energy consumption of three circuits on demand, based on priorities and needs that they manage from the convenience of their FranklinWH App.
The homeowners are enjoying off-grid independence during the sunny summer months, and comfort in knowing that should a blackout occur they won’t be left in the dark. When they’ve produced more power than they need and the batteries are fully charged they are feeding power to the grid. With one-to-one net metering, every kilowatt sent back to the grid is returned in credits or with a refund. Most importantly, these FranklinWH customers can optimize their energy from the convenience of their smart device – anytime and anywhere.
Quote of Dr. Hal Capp, homeowner: “I couldn't be more pleased with my FranklinWH system, the app, and how well it's worked here in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. I trust the FranklinWH App ... it gives me tons more information, is easier to use, and gives me control of the system. Plus, it just looks cooler ; ) It is what I show my friends when they ask me how things are going now that we are solar installed.”
"It was the most seamless, easy installation he had ever encountered. That’s quite a testament, considering his extensive experience installing energy storage systems."
Unlike DC-coupled battery alternatives which require complex wiring, the FHP is AC-coupled to integrate seamlessly with any solar system and existing panels. Plus, it is ready-to-go right out of the box and the aGate smart control requires no special programming.