The coming wave of next-generation home solar companies

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I was an early adopter of the current generation of solar technology when I installed panels on our San Jose home in the early 2000s, only to see the yield from those panels drop sharply over the past 20 following years.

On our latest house, we are using current generation LG panels which promise to retain over 90% of their production capacity for the same period. However, not only can I not get the Tesla batteries I ordered last year (I’m told I might have them by next summer), but I know I’m wasting a ton of money. energy because my energy consumption is not monitored.

A truly green home isn’t just about solar. It has a managed energy system so you can optimize usage. But home energy management systems that work well with solar are extremely rare, and I’ve been disappointed with every one I’ve tested.

Lunar energyled by former Tesla executive Kunal Girotra appears to be one of the first next-generation solar companies to focus more on electrical efficiency than production.

Lunar is an early release in an upcoming wave of solar companies that will increasingly shift from solar generation to energy management, delivering a much higher return on investment for their products.

This week, let’s talk about how going solar will change the way we manage electricity and how appliances are made. Then we’ll end with my product of the week: HP’s new Dragonfly Folio.

The problem with solar

Solar energy is cheap. In fact, it’s free but, unfortunately, the technology we need to use it is anything but. My last install, which was heavily subsidized by the California and US governments, still cost me close to $30,000 – even after the subsidies – and my current system is closer to $100,000.

The direct benefit is that during the summer my electric bill went from over $700 a month to less than $50. But winter is another story. You see, solar energy is driven by the sun. In winter, when the sun is lower on the horizon, it does not transmit as much energy to the panels, but you still need energy to heat the house.

Yes, a large part of my house is heated by gas now, but I would like to switch to electric. It still cut my energy bill by almost two-thirds, but the solar only works during the day and when the sun is up. So you need some form of alternate power source if you don’t want to sink at night or on cloudy days.

If you stay connected to the grid, without batteries, in the event of a power outage even in the middle of a sunny summer day (as was the case for me the other day), you will still lose electricity. Batteries are not only expensive, but you also have to draw enough energy to charge them and power your home during the day, increasing your need for solar power.

Now, if you stay connected to the grid, you will no longer have to pay for this every night but only when you discharge the batteries during an outage. If you’re off-grid, that means you’ll need about 30% more capacity.

What if you also focused on improving efficiency?

The promise of companies like Lunar Energy

That’s where these next-generation solar companies focus: less on power generation and more on increasing the efficiency of energy use. While Lunar Energy appears to be working on more efficient whole-house batteries, initially, their overall effort is more focused on efficiency than production.

If you can make your home more efficient, you don’t need as much solar power or as many batteries. This efficiency lens works whether you’re solar-powered or grid-powered. You can use a power management system regardless of the power source.

You can also potentially turn off your chargers when the batteries they are charging are at full capacity and only turn them back on when those batteries are below 50%. This would help batteries last longer and potentially reduce daily power consumption.

In the past, testing of the Energy Star rating system has shown huge flaws in their process. This management capability would also highlight devices that are wasting, force device makers to improve their own energy efficiency, and catch those who might still be messing with the system.

Next generation solar devices

Now there are companies like sundanzer who have been building appliances for off-grid homes for years, but the features and capabilities of these appliances remind me of what my grandma had in the 1960s. Manual defrost, no cold water or crafting ability of ice, limited capacity and, for the most part, nothing you would call appealing. But they are incredibly effective.

What I foresee with the next generation of devices from solar home-focused companies combines the efficiency of off-grid offerings with the capabilities and looks of the current generation of modern devices – so we can have the functionality that we want close to the efficiency of an off-grid product.

Wrap

Lunar Energy is one of the first of a new generation of solar energy companies focused more on the efficient use of energy than on its production.

I expect that by the end of the decade we’ll see entirely new companies hitting the market with increasingly more efficient appliances, more advanced home energy management systems, much better whole-home battery solutions and a more comprehensive approach to generating and using green energy.

We are only at the beginning of this wave of solar energy. Over the next 20 years, the design of kitchens and homes will change, appliances will change, and we will use AI to ensure the efficient use of every watt of energy we produce. In total, this effort should result in a massive reduction in the creation of greenhouse gases and a big step towards the fight against global climate change.

HP Dragonfly Folio G3

I review many laptops over the course of a year, and the one that has always been my favorite is the HP Folio. This line has gone through several iterations. It started as a consumer-focused device, drifted into business with the Elite Folio I’m using to write this, until the launch of its successor: the HP Dragonfly Folio G3.

The Elite Folio fixed my biggest complaint with the Folio which was the odd colors. It came in brown and burgundy, and I’m sure the 80s wanted their colors back. But the latest generation, HP went black, used the updated Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and graphics, and improved the pen dock and SIM card slot. With all of that, the Elite Folio has become my go-to laptop for the year.

Well I just met the HP Dragonfly Folio G3 and now my old Elite Folio seems sadly outdated.

HP Dragonfly Folio G3 Laptop

HP Dragonfly Folio G3 / Image credit: HP


HP found that computer buyers simply didn’t want to risk a Qualcomm product. While this chip worked well for me – and I really appreciated the huge battery life – other users complained about its lag. This is because you had to run an x86 emulator that pulled performance from a part that was limited in performance to begin with.

Additionally, Intel has convinced computer buyers that they need vPro even though most currently don’t seem to use this capability (Microsoft is working to get Windows to run natively with ARM, which should eventually fix the performance with Snapdragon).

So the HP Dragonfly Folio G3 has improved the camera, added a privacy screen option, and although it’s taken a hit in battery life, it’s noticeably faster (Qualcomm’s Snapdragon part leads the way). of the industry in terms of battery life).

In short, HP took my favorite laptop and made it better, so I’m in love again, and the HP Dragonfly Folio G3 is my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

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