Span is expanding its smart home infrastructure offerings with a new electric vehicle charging system and a smart electrical panel designed for homes where the circuit breaker panel is integrated with the utility meter.
Span’s first product, the Stretch panel, gives the homeowner circuit-level control over their home’s electrical system. When combined with the company’s smartphone app, the system can not only analyze power consumption at the device level, but can also identify consumption anomalies caused by malfunctioning appliances, a characteristic that Span compares with the check engine light of a car.
Products like Sense can similarly analyze and report on your home’s electricity consumption by connecting sensors to the cables that supply power to your home from the utility grid. As such, they cost considerably less than Span’s $ 3,500 solution, but they cannot turn circuits on and off, and they are not as accurate in identifying individual devices as they are limited to analyzing consumption patterns. With the Span product, you know precisely which circuits your electric range, clothes dryer, oven, water heater, etc. are using, because the Span panel itself controls those circuits.
The panel connects to your Wi-Fi network and using the app you can turn any circuit on or off with the touch of a button. The panel can also be integrated with solar panels, allowing you to track the amount of energy your home produces, and if you have a grid connected system, it will report how much energy you are sending to the grid. Finally, it can be connected to a whole house battery, which means that you can choose the circuits that the battery will power (the ones that control your refrigerator and freezer, for example) and that will turn off during a power outage.
The new panel announced today, the Span Meter Panel, is essentially the same device as the first Span Panel, but this updated product is designed as a direct replacement for homes where the circuit breaker panel and the utility meter device are integrated. . Both the new and original panel can also work in conjunction with a utility company’s demand response program to better match energy demand with supply, reducing consumption when demand is high and shifting it to times when those whose supply is most abundant.
In an interview with Span founder and CEO Arch Rao, Rao told me that the company is working on a new feature that will allow a Span panel to change the set point of the home thermostat, even a silly home thermostat. old school, to reduce the energy consumption of the HVAC system. “The panel will speak directly with the [HVAC system’s] air exchanger if you don’t have a smart thermostat, ”Rao said.
The company’s second new product, the Span Drive, is a home electric vehicle charging system that works in conjunction with any of the company’s electrical panels. Since the panels know precisely how much electricity is available and how much is needed at any given time, they can reduce low-priority circuits to divert more power (up to 48 amps) to the Span Drive. Other features include charge scheduling, so you can charge your vehicle when your utility rates are lowest; dynamic charging speed, so you can tap into your home’s backup battery during a power outage; and wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 4G LTE) to a Span panel. In homes that have solar panels installed, users will also be able to switch from grid power to solar power to charge their electric vehicle.
Span also announced a new partnership with Sunrun, whereby the nationwide solar panel installer will offer its customers the option of incorporating Span’s electric panels and electric vehicle charging product into Sunrun’s battery backup and solar product offerings.