Former Tesla Developer Reinventing the Home Electrical Panel
– Speaking of sustainability, our homes are increasingly becoming a command hub for all kinds of smart tech and smart power. One major component of that, actually, hasn’t been very smart at all until now. Diana Olick here with the details in her continuing series on climate startups. Diana?
– Well, Kelly, most of you probably have some kind of smart home device, a smart thermostat, security system, battery backup, but the electrical panel that connects it all hasn’t changed much in decades. And the more we electrify our homes the more we need something better. With electrical power for home, vehicle and battery backup increasingly running off the same system, the race is on to reinvent the 75-year-old electric panel. Names like Lumin, Schneider, and San Francisco based startup SPAN are making the systems smarter.
– A smart panel is capable of measuring every circuit in your home and allowing the homeowner to control every circuit.
– [Diana] The panel connects to an app that shows the consumer where all of the home’s power is coming from, the grid, solar, battery, so they can see exactly how and how much they’re consuming.
– The Span Homeowner app gives you incredible visibility and control over what’s happening your home in real time.
– [Diana] And that is increasingly critical for climate resiliency.
– I think more and more homeowners are starting to understand that having a home battery or an electric vehicle that can back up your home during an outage is critical.
– [Diana] Rao who helped develop Tesla’s Power Wall says he hopes Span will be in 10 million homes by the end of the decade. And so do his investors who don’t seem too concerned about the $7,000 price tag.
– It’s obviously, not a cheap product, but when you look at the alternative solution of, if you have to upgrade your circuit breaker and upgrade your supply from your utility, that gets very expensive.
– In addition to Wellington, Span is backed by Wireframe Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group, Munich Re Ventures, Fifth Wall, and Amazon’s Alexa Fund. Total funding so far, $231 million. Now, some home builders are adopting the Span panel, because it reduces the cost of the home at the time of the buildup. But Rao says the vast majority of his business today is still retrofits. He says many of the new electrical options for the home, especially, EVs, require you to upgrade your system anyway, including replacing that panel. Guys.
– All right, Diana, so give us an idea of how this panel can help the consumer not only save energy, but money.
– Well, because knowledge is power, right? If you know exactly what you’re using and when you can sort of scheme that when it comes to perhaps selling back some of your solar power back to the grid or using it at different times of the evening when rates might be lower. You really begin to understand where and when your costs are coming from. And if you really dig into it, you can definitely save money.
– All right, Di, thank you very much, Diana Olick.