Switching to solar energy to power homes is getting cheaper, but it’s still not accessible to everyone. Nor is it the go to choice for most people. However, going solar does not necessarily require a big investment or having a suitable rooftop in a sunny area. A new type of solar energy acquisition device is in the works, called a SunPort. It is basically a small device, which plugs into the wall and allows the powering of small devices via solar energy on demand.
The SunPort device and the app that comes with it utilizes Internet of Things (IoT) technology to track the amount of grid electricity the user is drawing, and automatically buys solar microcredits, or SunJoules from the nonprofit organization called ReChoice. These SunJoules are created by breaking up larger Solar Renewable Certificates (S-RECs) into increments, which are small enough to fuel an individual’s electricity needs. In this way, getting a SunPort allows people to go solar without installing a solar array, which aids in adopting renewable energy sources without the associated costs.
The S-RECs are formed when solar energy is produced and delivered to the electric power grid. In this way they are the best choice for going solar without going off the grid, which is also the reason S-RECs were created, i.e. to provide access to solar to everyone, and thereby help expand the solar energy market. Even though the SunPort allows for using solar energy only on a small scale, its creators hope that a widespread adoption of it could potentially drive the overall renewables market, as more and more people become accustomed to it and start choosing it over other options.
The SunPort is designed to be plugged into a standard wall outlet, whether at home, a coffee shop, or elsewhere. It also keeps track of your personal solar electricity usage, as well as lets users view the collective impact of all the people using SunPort.
The makers of SunPort estimate that the monthly bill for purchasing solar energy through the device will only set you back $1 or $2 USD ($20/year). The company is currently raising funds via Kickstarter to raise the money to start mass producing the devices, and through it you can get a single SunPort (with a year’s worth of unlimited solar energy credits) for only $49. The final market price has not yet been announced.