What is Amber’s SmartShift and how does it differ from a VPP?


Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) are intended to be a way for households to derive more benefits from their solar panel PV and battery systems and drive down their energy costs even further. They optimise home batteries to export to the grid when demand is peaking.

But it's acknowledged that traditional VPPs aren't yet optimised to provide maximum benefits to battery owners, and therefore uptake has been slow. Plus, depending on which VPP provider you’re with, the value being generated by your battery is often going to one of the big coal and gas companies. 

Here are some of the key differences if you automate your battery with SmartShift: 

- Amber SmartShift is the only VPP that passes on the full financial upside of exporting your energy into the wholesale electricity market, rather than taking a cut of the value you generate like most VPP providers. Our only margin is our $22 subscription fee. 

- SmartShift also offers the most control of any battery optimisation technology, with charge, discharge, and preserve battery mode - as well as the ability to switch SmartShift off completely.

Another difference is that most VPPs trigger events that are fleet wide. SmartShift™ triggers events at an individual site level. What this means is that the SmartShift algorithm will manage charging and discharging of your battery at an individual site level based on your particular battery and load profile (when you use energy throughout the day). In other words, it's focused on savings for each individual site, so it's making customised decisions for each household - not the fleet.

In sum, when you compare SmartShift with VPPs out there, you'll find you can:

1. Maximise the value of your battery. Earn more with Amber because you get the full upside of your exports going into the wholesale market (vs other VPPs who take a cut in return for adding fixed credits to your bill).

2. Stay in control. You choose when you charge and discharge your battery and can turn optimisations on and off at any time. Plus, there's no lock-in period. 

3. Use your battery to help accelerate the renewables transition & displace fossil fuels

SmartShift is currently compatible with:

  • Tesla Powerwall 2
  • Sungrow with a *single* hybrid inverter (model numbers: 
    • SH5.0RS
    • SH6.0RS
    • SH8.0RS
    • SH10.0RS
    • SH5.0RT
    • SH10.0RT
  • LG Chem battery with SolarEdge inverter/s
  • SolarEdge battery with a SolarEdge inverter/s
  • AlphaESS - note that only those AlphaESS batteries whose integrated inverter module has a serial numbers starting with AL are compatible (this number can be located on the side of the top half of the battery system. If you see ALP you are looking at the wrong serial number)
  • Hive - same considerations apply as above as a Hive battery is a re-branded AlphaESS
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  • Might not be Amber's thing but I'm really interested in a community battery where a neighbourhood shares a decent sized battery.

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  • What are the chances of adding ev charging to this? Like chargeHQ but better.

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