Gizmos & Gadgets: Venetian Blinds Go Solar

July 8, 2017 – SolarGaps is the name of a new window blind that has photovoltaics mounted on every slat. The panels generate up to 150 watt-hours per square meter (10 square feet). That’s enough power to keep 30 LED lights lit and recharge capacity for three laptops. A motor control mechanism keeps the panels facing the Sun throughout the day. Surplus energy can be stored or sold back to the utility.

 

 

Yevgen Erik, of Redwood City, California, the inventor, sees SolarGaps as an answer for homeowners who can’t install rooftop solar panels. Since every home has windows and a need for blinds it seemed like an obvious way to combine two functions in one.

An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign has raised over $111,000 U.S. since its launch on June 15, 2017. From the Indiegogo site, SolarGaps is described as suitable for renters, homeowners, and businesses seeking to reduce energy use and become participants in the transition to a low-carbon, renewable energy life and work style.

Features include:

  • Do-It-Yourself Plug and Play – brackets designed for external (inventors recommend external installation for optimal energy harvesting) or internal mounting.
  • Not just energy generating but also reducing – the window blinds save energy because they also shade your interior and reduce air conditioning needs (the site claims by as much as 80%).
  • Comes with smart features – comes with motion, temperature, and ambient light sensors and can be integrated with other smart devices such as Google Home, Amazon Echo, and the Nest Thermostat.
  • Works with accompanying Android or iPhone app – Connects via WiFi or Bluetooth to use voice and touch controls to raise and lower blinds, change the angle, and to display energy statistics.
  • Durable aluminum outer shell – designed to withstand outdoor weather conditions from -40 to 80 Celsius (-40 to 176 Fahrenheit).
  • 25-year warranty – solar cells are United States made by SunPower and FCC certified.
  • Comes in a range of sizes – from extra small (60 centimeters, 2 feet) to extra large (2.5 meters, 8 feet) with a maximum height of 4 meters (13 feet) and a minimum of 60 centimeters (2 feet). Depth is 8 centimeters (3 inches). Weight is 8 kilograms per square meter (20 pounds per 10 square feet). Also available in custom sizes. Just ask.

SolarGaps intends to be shipping to its first customers by October 2017. Pricing ranges from $390 to $1,910

U.S. Indiegogo contributors can get a SolarGaps single slat for a donation of $39 U.S. plus shipping. The demo slat produces enough power to charge a mobile phone.

A special one square meter (10-foot square) fully automated and motorized SolarGap blind is also available to Indiegogo donors for $270 U.S. plus shipping, 50% off the retail price.

And while the campaign remains open you can place a $249 non-refundable deposit and get SolarGap blinds you purchase later at a 30% discount with the deposit applied to your first purchase.

 


Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...

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