Baseload Buster uses PV panels to lower electric bills

Who doesn’t want to reduce their electric bills? But shifting one’s house entirely over to a solar panel energy system from a fossil fuel-based energy system can be costly.

The Baseload Buster from Amsterdam company Sun Invention offers a third solution that uses photovoltaics (PV) to convert solar energy into direct current electricity. The system includes four solar PV panels of 250 watts each that collect sun during the day to create a maximum of 1,000 watts of pure energy during daytime harvesting. Excess energy is then stored in Lithium batteries to deliver energy during the night or during especially cloudy weather. The PV panels run with an extra cell optimizer to avoid large losses during energy production.

Users can adjust the storage setting on their own based on factors including the region it is being used in, what season it is, and personal consumption level. Sun Invention is looking to raise €20,000 (~$24,200). Backers who spend €2,950 (~$3,600) will get the four panels including a new solar cell optimizer, and a 20-meter connection cable that connects the Baseload Buster connection box to the user’s existing home grid energy system. Country-specific AC connectors are ready to order also and versions for both 50 Hz and 60 Hz grids can be offered by the company.

The system sounds promising. But while the Baseload Buster is clearly less expensive than switching over entirely to a solar energy system, it is still too costly to attract mass consumer adoption. It is also hard to gauge just how much savings the user can expect to see each month.


Scrobby Solar is the Roomba for your roof panels

The Premise. Solar panels are a fantastic way to cut down on carbon emissions while providing people and the energy they need to power themselves. Their hassle-free nature are an added bonus, usually requiring no more than initial installation and routine maintenance — unless, of course, they get dirty. With no clear estimates as to how much dust, dirt, and grime affects a solar panel’s capacity to generate energy, owners run the risk of giving up anywhere from 3% to 40% of possible energy, severely cutting down on returns.

The Product. Scrobby Solar is a Roomba-styled robot designed to live on and clean your solar panels created by Stefan Hamminga. Itself powered by solar energy, the Scrobby uses nothing but gravity and rainwater to clean your installation. Ron Popeil’s “set it and forget” has never been more true with this product being completely self-reliant, keeping you safe by relieving you of the dangers of cleaning panels yourself while lightening the burden on your wallet with its price.

The Pitch. The campaign’s video is straightforward and extremely informational, showing the creator building a Scrobby Solar from scratch. The simplicity of its design is shown to us piece by piece, allowing potential backers to see how effective design is truly created. Although the rest of the campaign is a bit wordy, it does so in a comprehensive way rather than in a obtrusive one — better for those who like to feel as comfortable as possible contributing towards a pricey €75,000 ($97,000) campaign goal.

The Perks. The Scrobby Solar can be had with a early bird pledge of €269 ($345), or €289 ($370) if you hit the snooze button too many times. Early bird packages featuring multiple Scrobby Solars are also available if you need to clean larger installations, ranging from €529 ($679) to €1049 ($1345). All packages are slated to be delivered by February 2015.

The Potential. The Scrobby Solar’s shape is familiar and welcome, the idea of a automated solar panel cleaning system that doesn’t cost a fortune will turn heads, and its self-sustaining design is sure to make headway in the space at that price point. Not mentioned in detail in the campaign are the exact requirements to successfully install the product being that there suspension wires involved in its operation. As long as it doesn’t turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth, the Scrobby Solar should have a real chance of surpassing its funding goal.