So you’ve decided you want to be more environmentally responsible. Good for you Planeteer! The home is a great place to start. In 2013 the US consumed 3,831 billion kWh (kilowatthours) with 36% of that used to power the lights, air-conditioners, heaters and PlayStations in our residences. If you want more numbers, that is an average of 10,908 kWh annually per household or about 909 kWh per month. Currently about 67% of that comes from fossil fuels; which are finite and harmful to the planet. Fortunately we have ways to harness abundant and renewable energy sources including hydro, wind and solar. Installing any of these to power your house can be unfeasible for many reasons; costs being just one. Most of us have access to direct sunlight for example, but installing solar panels can cost tens of thousands of dollars; and that’s if you already own your home. But there is another way to help, and a new Kickstarter Project called: SunPort aiming to make it easier.
First let’s quickly go over how SunPort works. The device itself is an adapter you plug into a standard outlet. You then plug your gadgets or appliances into the SunPort. Setup the SunPort app on your smartphone or tablet and you’re all set.
The Sunport then “requests” that your home be provided with energy sourced from renewable sources. This energy is purchased by your power company from businesses using their own solar, wind or hydro equipment through a system using RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates) which keeps track of energy being sold and used.
So how can your power company only send you energy created explicitly from renewable sources on demand? It can’t. You are still drawing from the same pool of energy as everyone else. The goal of RECs and products like the SunPort is to create demand and finances to increase the percentage of green energy in that pool so that less of it originates from fossil fuels in the long run.
“…this is all about creating demand for solar from solar farms. Solar a really wonderful form of power in many ways, but it won’t replace a diverse resource mix anytime soon. We’re just trying to hasten the tipping point so solar will be much more important than the 1/2% of our grid power that it is today. Just to be clear, there is no way to get “pure solar power” from the grid, until the grid is 100% solar powered…” – Paul Droege, Creator of SunPort
Essntially, the SunPort monitors your electric consumption while telling the power company that you only want solar energy. There is no direct affiliation with the Power Company themselves and there is no effect on your actual energy bill. It’s all part of a movement to get companies away from using fossil fuels.
“It’s important to understand that SunPort is not affiliated with your power company, nor will it affect your home energy bill. It simply measures the grid electricity you take from any wall outlet (at home or away) and upgrades it to solar using a ready supply of solar credits managed through the cloud. In the same way we’re able to choose organic food or fair trade coffee at the grocery store, SunPort lets you choose and use solar energy. So it won’t save you money on your energy bill, but it could help you save the planet.”
You can back the project and pre-order a SunPort for $49 with an expected ship date of October 2015. This is a connected IoT device and includes an app that lets you monitor how much electricity you’ve upgraded to solar over time and charts the collective impact of all SunPort users and those in your network. The app also allows users to add as many additional SunPorts as you would like to grow your solar energy demand. Although there are no contracts or commitments, after the first year, there is a $1-$2 monthly fee for the services.
You can find out more information and back the project here: SunPort Kickstarter Project
So what do you think? Is this a viable approach to get us more dependent on renewable energy? Or does it make more sense to invest in your own equipment like Solar Panels to power your home? Please let us know in the comments or any social media?Source: Kickstarter