While some of the industry’s largest solar companies have generated years of buzz with their battery back-up power for the home, SolarMax Technology says it is one of the first to develop and deliver an integrated, all-in-one-solution — the FLEX energy storage system — which hits the U.S. market this month.
Launch timing for the Riverside, Calif.-based company couldn’t be better, particularly in states with a high propensity for power blackouts. In California, for example, more than 500 outages occur statewide each year. Annual report data from the state’s Public Utilities Commission shows that millions of utility customers were affected by power outages in 2014, the most recent year reported. With the onset of summer and triple digit heat in some places – and predicted power outages in regions like north LA County, where natural gas leaks have diminished generation capacity – that vulnerability figures to increase.
The 5-kWh solution, designed by Li-Max Energy, provides battery stored power to keep key household appliances and other devices operating when the grid goes down. Unlike other offerings on the market, the FLEX requires no additional components or labor assembly by the customer. The two main wall-mounted components are fully integrated within the system. The integrated system design saves consumers thousands compared to existing “a la carte” solutions that require the purchase of separate component parts in order to achieve comparable functionality.
The lithium-ion powered battery packs plenty of electricity when fully charged – enough, in fact, to continuously power a laptop computer, two light bulbs, a flat-screen television and refrigerator for up to 8 hours. Customers can configure the FLEX to supply power to whatever circuits within the home that correspond to their most important needs.
SolarMax will focus its marketing efforts on existing solar customers, homeowners considering the value proposition of converting to solar, and even non-solar customers who simply want a reliable, ready source of power when blackouts occur. The latter group can purchase the FLEX through a product bundle that includes two SolarMax-branded photovoltaic panels.
“We believe there’s tremendous market potential, based on the pent-up demand and anticipation for a viable battery back-up system,” says SolarMax CEO David Hsu. “We avoided the speculative discussions and instead kept our efforts focused on the R&D and product development initiatives necessary to bring a fully integrated solution to the customer. The all-in-one design of the FLEX proves that we made the right decision.”
As exclusive worldwide distributor, SolarMax will market the integrated system through a network of distributors, dealers, utilities and retailers.
— Solar Builder magazine