Mobile solar-plus-storage device could be an entry-level gateway to clean energy
The SolPad Mobile device offers a scaled-up solar charging and battery solution for both home and off-grid applications.
For those looking for a solar charging solution for their mobile gadgets, there are approximately a thousand and one options on the market right now, but if you'd like something a bit larger, such as powering a laptop, fridge, or TV, the number of choices is much smaller. And those options are all currently based around the purchase of several components, with the solar panels and the battery pack being separate. However, the options for mid-size solar solutions are about to increase, if only by one, as the solar startup SolPad is getting ready to accept pre-orders for its Mobile product, which integrates the solar panels, the battery, and the inverter and charge controller into a single portable unit.
I covered the initial announcement from SolPad (previously known as SunCulture Solar) back in September of last year, when the company released the basic information for both its Home and Mobile products, but at that time, no specific details on specs and pricing were available. However, at the recent CES 2017 event, SolPad announced not only additional details for both units, but also the pricing and pre-order info for the SolPad Mobile device.
According to the company, the SolPad products are "the world’s first and only truly integrated" solar panels, and will mark a "quantum leap in personal power,” as they combine a solar electricity generator (the photovoltaic cells) with an onboard intelligent energy management system, charge controller, inverter, and battery pack in one complete unit, which can also be chained together for larger power demands. The Home version, which won't be available for some time yet, is intended for use as part of a rooftop solar and energy storage solution (330W panel and 500Wh battery, chainable together to form a home-sized array), while the forthcoming Mobile version is more suited to backyard, patio, balcony, and off-grid situations.
The SolPad Mobile, which consists of a 72W solar panel and 600Wh battery, plus the inverter and control systems, together with a WiFi hotspot, an LED light, and a user interface that talks to you, will be available for pre-order starting May 3rd, 2017, and will be priced at $1395. The unit measures 28" by 21" by 1.8" and weighs in at 25 pounds, so it's not exactly a pocket-sized device, but it can supply "grid-quality, pure sine wave" AC directly from two outlets on the unit (2000W peak and 1000W continuous) and deliver DC current from two "fast-charging" USB ports, so it's ready to power many standard home appliances, as well as charge just about any mobile electronics as well. Multiple units can be chained together, enabling the creation of a solar micro-grid to meet larger power needs.
"SolPad Mobile is a portable power solution that easily integrates into any home environment or that can be taken on-the go for off-grid applications. SolPad’s patented SolControl software allows you to send solar power to specific items, appliances and rooms, and experience total control of your power with an iPhone. It can also choose the best time to use solar or grid power for maximum utility bill savings.
"SolPad Mobile can also be integrated into your home or apartment through the SolControl smart plug. Once connected to an AC outlet, SolPad Mobile’s software directs SolPad’s stored solar power to offset the energy of specific household appliances, such as a coffee maker, television, computer or IoT lighting." - SolPad
The SolPad Mobile battery can be fully charged with 10 hours of solar generation, or by supplying 5 hours of grid electricity, and can handle about 60 smartphone charges, a handful of laptop charges, run a TV for several hours, or keep a mini-fridge cold for about 10 hours. Pre-ordered units are expected to begin shipping in the second half of 2017. Learn more at SolPad.com.