Since Super Storm Sandy swept through the East Coast, stranding thousands in New York and New Jersey without electricity for weeks, energy consumers have become increasingly interested in solar power and battery storage that will work off grid.
“Most people don’t realize when they’re installing all this solar on their roofs that it won’t work when the power is off,” said Ralph Ciarlanti, chief financial officer for Green Power Resource Management.
Since most rooftop solar installations are tied into the grid, they stop sending power if there is an outage to protect the electricians working on the lines.
Green Power Resource Management, based in California, produces solar-powered air conditioners with battery back-up that works with the grid to reduce energy costs when everything is working as normal and as a battery back-up generator when the lights go out.
The product came from a backyard inventor who knew of an elderly woman on oxygen who died of heat stroke during rolling black outs one summer.
“The idea was to create an air conditioner that would keep working even if the power went out,” Ciarlanti said.
Initially, the system was a water cooler. But solar power proved to be the best option.
The standard Green Power system comes with a big enough battery to power the home air conditioning system for four hours straight.
“In reality, the air conditioner doesn’t usually run non-stop for four hours,” Ciarlanti said. “So, it’s probably more like six or eight hours.”
As the company steps up production, it’s offering larger battery systems. The batteries charge using renewable energy resources first, like solar panels on the roof, and will then charge from the grid. The built-in management system is constantly monitoring energy levels and will supplement power from wherever makes the most sense whenever it’s needed.
While the system is designed around the air conditioner, it’s not just for air conditioning. It comes with outlet and people can plug their computers or refrigerators or anything they want to provide with constant power into the sytems.
Ciarlanti said he’s getting a lot of customers with cabins and vacation homes that are off the grid. They can put solar panels on the roof and use Green Power Resource Management systems to power the home through the night.