The company is selling–not promising, not developing, but actually selling–solar panels that you can install yourself, one-at-a-time if you’re on a tight budget, and plug into an external mains outlet to supplement the energy you’re receiving from your local power utility. Up to five panels can be installed, and with all five in place, the system generates up to 1000 watts of energy. For every hour that all five panels receive direct sunlight, that’s up to 1kWh of power that you’re not paying the electric company for.
And since the system merely plugs into an outlet–thanks to a small, cellular-phone sized microinverter that converts DC into AC–it’s considered an appliance, and therefore not subject to special permits, and don’t require an electrician to install.
The panels are selling now for $999 apiece, and I did some quick back-of-the-napkin calculations to figure out how much energy–and how much money–that would save me in the long run. I won’t bore you with all the numbers, but with five panels in place on the west side of my patio cover, I would save about a buck a day, and the panels would pay for themselves in about fourteen years (or about 9.5 years if the 30% federal tax credit applies. It seems that it does).
I have to admit, in my area of Alabama, all of our power comes from relatively clean (at least in terms of impact on the global environment) hydroelectric power, so I’m not champing at the bit to drop $5000 on the system, but it’s conceptually exciting, nonetheless. Modular, plug-and-play, DIY solar energy, on the market now… who would’ve thunk it?
The company offers a 5-Year limited warranty on material and workmanship and a 12-Year and 25-Year limited warranty on minimum power output, but, of course, solar companies come and go quite a bit as of late, so there’s no guarantee that SpinRay will be around long enough to honor that warranty.
And there are a few other caveats worth noting: firstly, if the power goes out, the panels shut down, so as not to endanger line workers fixing the outage. Secondly, professional installers aren’t digging this concept one bit, for a number of reasons, so although the DeckPower 120 is considered an appliance and is free from regulation for now, there could be some backlash.
But still, this is a proof-of-concept product that all of us who trumpet green energy should be excited about. Head over to the original story for more info.