We’re continuing to find unique ways to pick up solar power and convert it into useful energy. Most people are looking at long and flat objects like panels on rooftops and sidewalks that could absorb sunlight effectively. A company has taken that idea and added it to something many of us wouldn’t have imagined -- window blinds.
SolarGaps has developed their self-titled smart blinds and are hoping they will be crowdfunded on Kickstarter. It gives people that aren’t able to install solar panels an option to still fuel their homes with energy from the sun. According to the , a set of their blinds can shave off “up to 70%” of electric bills.
The process is done with photovoltaic cells that are attached to the blinds, similar to solar panels. All that energy consumed by the product can be used in three different ways. There’s the option to simply consume that energy for all devices at home. Another way is to store excess energy in an external battery to use when it’s most expensive to use it. Finally, people can opt to sell this energy back to electric companies with a two-way meter.
Installation is simple due to the company’s vision of including the apartment renter. All it takes is replacing the normal blinds and attaching the SolarGaps to wall brackets. Every 10 square feet of blinds can produce anywhere from 100 to 150 watts of renewable energy. Since the blinds are thick and dark, they are also more efficient when it comes to shading rooms. In theory, that should cut on air conditioning use.
As with any new technology, these blinds can be controlled by smartphones, tablets, and voice-operated devices along with a remote control that comes with the unit. Not only can they open and close the blinds, but consumers can find out how much sunlight has been absorbed. The blinds also have the ability to adjust the angles itself to get maximum efficiency from the day’s sunlight.
There’s a few ways to reserve a set of SolarGaps. One option is to pledge $249 immediately, which would essentially be a down payment, and then figure out what size of blinds will be needed at a later date. The difference will then be charged after a 30 percent discount is applied. For those that know what they want, they can pledge for the full price and save up to 52 percent off the eventual retail price. For a cost range, it’s $39 for the extra small, or “XS” blinds, all the way up to $1,910 for the “XXL-sized” blinds.
Custom sizes can also be made at an additional price. For those that don’t have the money but still want to support the company, they also offer a $39 “SolarGaps Slat” option for mobile devices. In similar form, this gadget will charge phones and tablets while out in the sunlight. Should the project get backed, medium or smaller-sized SolarGaps will be ready to deliver in September of this year while bigger blinds and the “Slat” will be shipped in December.