ABB’s Lumin investment rounds out a big year for load management tech

The investment and forthcoming offering target the lucrative home energy management market.

December 12, 2023
An image of multiple homes with rooftop solar

Photo credit: Lumin

Swiss electrification giant ABB is making an undisclosed investment in smart panel maker Lumin, the companies said today.

The partnership will combine Lumin’s hardware and software with ABB’s distribution portfolio and market access, with a focus on developing a joint offering for North American homes that is expected to hit the market in early 2024.

In a challenging year for climate tech investments, the grid edge has been something of a bright spot. Intelligent load management in particular has risen to the surface of conversations about virtual power plants and flexible data centers.

Intelligent load management is powered by smart meters — or, in the case of Lumin, add-ons to make regular electrical meters “smarter” — that are increasingly relying on artificial intelligence. That means, as is the case elsewhere in climatetech, data is king.

That’s a key component of the ABB/Lumin partnership, the companies said: Lumin’s platform provides detailed behind-the-meter consumption data, even for homes without smart meters.

“The data gathered through this partnership will hone future product innovation as customer needs evolve,” said Mike Mustapha, president of ABB Electrification’s Smart Buildings Division, in a statement.

In January, Lumin announced a partnership with the AI company Itron to bring “edge intelligence” to Lumin’s smart electrical panels, which allow utilities to deploy demand response programs without additional hardware.

Per Wood Mackenzie, home energy management systems like the anticipated offering from Lumin and ABB have benefited from recent regulatory tailwinds, and are becoming “an imperative” for consumers navigating rising electricity prices and various tariffs. In the first quarter of the year, for example, customer energy management solutions were the third most invested-in grid-edge sector, after electric vehicle infrastructure and energy storage. 

And, by International Energy Association estimates, the growth opportunities in home energy management systems are immense: to align with 2050 net zero emissions scenarios, global deployment of such systems must reach 32.7 million units by 2030, up from just 4 million units in 2020.

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