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EGEB: Ex-Tesla team launches ‘smart’ electric panel, Global Climate Strike day 2, more

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Former Tesla head of product Arch Rao launches Span, a smart, green-friendly electric panel.
  • Climate strikers hit the road for a second global march.
  • All new buildings in Ireland will require EV charge stations.
  • Complete Solar gets $9 million in equity funding

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Former Tesla Energy head of product Arch Rao and other former Tesla engineers want to replace your old gray electrical panel with a sleek white box. They’ve launched Span, a smart “plug-and-play” panel that enables customers to easily adopt such green energy technologies as solar, storage batteries, and electric vehicles.

Span’s integrated device becomes the primary energy and control hub for the home. Span’s panel integrates grid monitoring (for backup mode), metering and sub-metering (of every circuit), and granular controls. It is also embedded with a computer that enables a number of applications ranging from demand response to home automation. It also offers customizable backup power, enabling customers to pick and choose individual circuits in their homes, which is especially useful during power outages or blackouts. Founder and CEO Rao said:

Electrical panels haven’t seen significant innovations in over three decades despite being the ideal center for controlling home energy and bringing intelligent connectivity into homes. We are excited to launch a product that will accelerate the adoption of renewables while transforming the customer and installer experience.

Span is initially partnering with leading solar installers in Hawaii and California. Consumers can go to their website to register interest. Production will be scaled up in early 2020.

When I asked about cost, I was told by the company, “Span is targeting an upfront installation cost on par with the typical cost of a main panel upgrade required when solar, batteries, or EV chargers are added to a home.” (That would be around $2,500, Rao told Green Tech Media.)

Span follows other groundbreaking smart electrical products such as the Leviton Smart Load Center and Sense, which monitor and control energy use and home activity using apps from the breaker panel.

Global Climate Strike part 2

Both youth and adult climate strikers are hitting the streets for a second day in order to demand “an end to the age of fossil fuels.” The numbers of marchers are just as monumental as last week’s march on Friday, September 20, with hundreds of thousands taking part.

As we reported last week, School Strikes/Fridays for Future describes itself as “an organic grassroot mainly youth-led mobilization, which has sparked what is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) global climate mobilization to date.”

Here are some images posted on Twitter by Greta Thunberg, the activist spearheading the movement, and others. To check out more photos and videos of strikes across the globe, search #ClimateStrike on Twitter.

Mandatory EV charging points in Ireland

Ireland’s Department of Housing has announced that all new buildings will be required to feature electric vehicle charging points, according to the Irish Times.

Further, all new homes must be nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB), and renovations or extensions on existing homes will have to meet a higher energy rating of B2 upon completion. (Here’s Ireland’s energy ratings guide. A1 is the best.)

The department said the move to NZEB for new-built homes would add approximately 1.9% to the overall cost, but would mean savings in energy bills.

At present, most of Ireland’s housing stock is not energy-efficient, with 78% having an energy rating of C2 or worse. A maximum of 1.2% of housing stock is renovated annually.

The rules come into effect in November.

Complete Solar raises $9 million

Partner platform Complete Solar has raised $9 million in equity funding led by Ecosystem Integrity Fund. Additional participating investment came from the Libra Foundation.

The raised capital will enable Complete Solar’s market expansion, which includes working with non-solar sales channels to expand their respective product offerings through Complete Solar’s reseller program. The company already partners with over 100 companies in solar and related fields.

Complete Solar will expand its product offerings to include electric car chargers, battery back-up systems, electric heat pumps, roofing, and other home energy upgrades by cross-promoting its partners’ energy products.

Dave Anderson, cofounder and CMO of Complete Solar, told Electrek by email:

Complete Solar’s real differentiator is that we can work with companies that are new to solar. We are the only company with a proven partner platform that combines financing options, software, and services that other residential sales companies can use to sell and install rooftop systems, in addition to any other products or services they may offer.

Complete Solar has expanded its partnerships across California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Utah, and Arizona.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.