So, here is something different: SunCulture Solar Inc. has announced the launch of SolPad, which builds in a ton of technology at the panel level, potentially becoming the most advanced integrated-home or offgrid solar energy group of products out there.
“SolPad revolutionizes personal energy by bringing together the sustainable smart home, solar and energy storage into a simple, gorgeous and integrated device,” said Christopher Estes, SolPad’s CEO and Chief Product Architect.
SolPad Home combines solar and smart home components that have traditionally always been bought and installed separately. Due to this integration and elimination of parts, SolPad’s fully integrated product design approach reduces the total cost of installed solar and energy storage by up to 50 percent when compared with other existing product offerings, according to the company.
“Labor and technical soft costs are the hardest problems to solve when it comes to integrating solar and storage with software. SolPad did an amazing job of inventing new technologies and packaging them in a way that is both consumer and installer friendly,” said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Spice Solar and a longtime solar industry installer.
Let’s dive in.
The panel that stores energy
Each SolPad Home panel, according to the company, is meant to operate like a smart-energy computer on your roof, with each device being its own energy powerhouse that is completely self-sufficient. Homeowners can start with one SolPad and easily add more with minimal installation time.
SolPad Home panels store both solar and grid energy with forthcoming solid-state battery technology. This battery technology, SunCulture says, is safer than standard lithium-ion-based batteries and has a broader operating temperature range and longer life. Each SolPad device is equipped with its own “solar micro-storage,” or built-in battery storage at the panel level, and the solid-state low-voltage battery design is optimized for safe rooftop operation.
The ‘flexgrid’ inverter
SolPad’s flexgrid inverter is designed to seamlessly integrate with the built-in solid-state “solar micro-storage,” and this innovative combination allows SolPad to operate with electrically optimized power efficiency.
SolPad’s flexgrid inverter can automatically detect when to charge from the sun or charge from the local utility grid, adjusting for cloudy or rainy days, as well as changing local electricity rates. Using local info gleaned from its GPS location, SolPad Home will switch to stored battery power during the most expensive daytime hours for that home, then switch back to grid power when rates are low. Flexgrid will also detect when there’s a power outage or blackout and safely disconnect itself from the grid. Once off the grid, SolPad automatically forms a personal solar micro-grid that will keep delivering power to specific lights and appliances.
The SolPad panel connection is wire-free — a simple connector unit links all of the panels together instead, eliminating the need for any complicated cabling or wiring, simplifying the installation and greatly reducing cost and installation time.
SolControl: Solar Energy, Gamified
The high-level talk at any solar industry conference always gets back to changing a consumer’s relationship with their energy provide and management. The more this happens, the more ubiquitous solar becomes. SolPad Home sets a strong precedent for the sustainable smart home with its internet of things (IoT) energy management platform called SolControl that integrates solar generation and energy storage with automated energy management. SolControl’s user interface makes homeowners aware of when and how they are consuming energy. It puts cost-saving control into a gamified and easy-to-use smartphone application. SolControl also helps conserve electricity by autonomously learning usage habits and intuitively providing suggestions to further optimize power consumption.
With SolControl, anyone can manage and control the distribution and delivery of their solar power to individual appliances, individual rooms or to the entire home, which has never been done before. SolControl provides a fun and immersive energy personalization experience that is completely unrivaled and that forms a new scalable product ecosystem that works with smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. Now users can be connected to their power at all times, from anywhere in the world.
— Solar Builder magazine