PowerPlay is plug-in device prototype that helps households save money and the planet through local community solar energy.

PowerPlay is designed to be used by plugging it into any outlet in a house. A projected screen from the device provides relevant data over different timescales in order to help households make the most informed decision about their energy usage. Based on the household’s energy usage, the device offers helpful personalized tips on best ways to reduce energy usage.

If the household needs additional energy, PowerPlay can help households to sell extra solar energy to their community. If they are consuming more energy than they can generate, it can also help households to purchase additional community solar energy.

This concept was developed in a week-long prototyping course. Because of the hidden complexities inherent in how solar microgrid networks work, it was important to test interactions to reinforce accurate mental models in users. The team prototyped and tested the device form factor, information visualization, and key buy/sell interactions with other students throughout the week.