An Atlanta power source that can generate electricity from rooftop solar panels is set to debut this summer, but it won’t be cheap.
The Powerhouse Solar system is expected to cost around $2,500 per watt, which is less than the average electricity price of around $6,000 per watt in Georgia, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The system, which will be powered by two Tesla batteries, will be installed at a property that already has a solar PV system, but that solar panels aren’t going to be fully charged overnight, according Toon Energy, the company that is building the system.
The project will be funded by the city of Atlanta, which has a goal to become the first city in the country to install solar power in residential buildings.
The Atlanta Powerhouse has been working on the project for about a year, and the first prototype will be available for lease in the next few months, Toon says.
The company’s goal is to provide the system to a neighborhood in the Atlanta metro area, and to the entire country, Toons founder Michael P. Toon told Mashable.
“We think this is going to change the landscape of how energy is delivered to communities.”
The PowerHouse system is actually powered by three Tesla batteries: the solar cells, which store the energy, the battery storage unit, which powers the panels, and a solar inverter that charges the batteries at night.
The inverter uses the sun’s energy to generate electricity, and Toon said that once the inverter is fully charged, the solar panels can be powered with a backup power source.
The panels can produce up to 2.5 kilowatts of power, which the company claims will be enough to power more than 1,000 homes in the metro area.
It’s not clear exactly how much of the Powerhouse system will be distributed to other neighborhoods in the region, but the company said it will be able to “generate electricity for neighborhoods of the same size or larger.”
Toon also told Mashup that the PowerHouse is designed to be self-sufficient, and can easily power up and down, or be used in an emergency.
“You can put it on your roof, or put it in your backyard, or store it somewhere where it can be connected to the grid,” Toon added.
The SolarCity-backed company, which recently raised $5.5 million in funding, is also planning to open a second solar farm in Georgia this summer.
“Our goal is not to just create a system, we want to change our entire ecosystem,” Toons CEO, Andrew P. Johnson, told Mashability.
“The solar industry in the U.S. has always been about the ability to make things sustainable, but we’ve never had a system that’s built around renewable energy.”
Johnson said that SolarCity, which specializes in rooftop solar, is already seeing positive response to the Powerhouses project, and hopes to have a full system in place by the end of the year.
“It’s been very challenging to build something like this in a country with a lot of competition,” he said.
“But we’ve been really surprised by how much it’s resonated.”
For more on solar power, check out this article from The Verge.