California-based EchoFirst, formerly known as PVT Solar, makes an interesting Echo solar system that I noticed locally on the Solaris homes (Style A/Style B) in Daybreak, Utah. It’s the kind of system that could work wonders for a lot of homes because Echo delivers more than just electricity from photovoltaic panels. Echo captures air from under the panels to provide home heating, home cooling, water heating, and fresh air ventilation.
Echo generates twice as much energy as a basic PV electric system, according to EchoFirst. While generating electricity, thermal heat travels to an Energy Transfer Module (i.e., an air filter, heat exchanger, and high-efficiency fan) in the attic or garage, where some of the heat is removed from the air in order to heat water.
Also, in the winter or during the night, the ETM circulates pre-heated air through the home for warmth; in the summer or during the day, the ETM circulates pre-cooled air and replaces stale air. The system can provide 6-8 whole home air changes per day.
Each Echo system comes with a web-based dashboard and a free iPhone app that gives an owner the ability to both monitor and control the system remotely. In terms of pricing, Echo costs about 25-45% more than a basic PV system, but the premium is offset through additional energy production.
Echo is a standard offering in about 25 new home communities in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah and can be installed in existing homes in these states, too. EchoFirst is in the process of a national roll out and can be contacted at EchoFirst.com.
Credits: EchoFirst, Inc.
Article tags: alternative energy, EchoFirst, solar heating