Span recently landed $10.2 million in venture capital to modernize and replace one of the more basic and ubiquitous pieces of home electrical hardware — the electrical panel. Span’s ambition is to “transform the electrical panel into an intelligent gateway” and help expand the adoption of solar, energy storage and EVs.
Span’s electrical panel will be paired with Panasonic’s EverVolt residential battery system, which comes in two sizes: 11.4 kilowatt-hours and 17.1 kilowatt-hours — depending on how many of the 55-pound battery packs are incorporated into the field-serviceable housing. The Panasonic systems are intended for indoor usage and are available in DC-coupled or AC-coupled versions — and so can be retrofitted to an existing solar system.
Controlling home energy via phone app
Span founder and CEO Arch Rao recently told pv magazine that as the size of rooftop solar systems increases, the electrical panel has to be replaced to grow service. If replaced with a Span smart panel — the package includes energy management software, an output meter, a communications gateway and a separate critical loads panel. These functions would usually require their own enclosures and wiring.
Span’s panel is designed to monitor and control up to 32 circuits, all managed through a smartphone app. When the power goes out, Span islands the house and lets homeowners choose which parts of the home they want to power. Rao envisions the roll-out of new functions with over-the-air updates for functions such as EV charging and water heater control. (Atom Power, a startup developing a solid-state circuit breaker akin to Span’s product but for commercial and industrial buildings, just raised $17.8 million.)
Span already has a partnership with LG Chem for inverters and batteries.
Panasonic and Span will offer this combined solution to installers and homeowners this year. The Span panel can be purchased as an add-on to an existing solar system or bundled together with a new solar installation.
As Span puts it, “The standard electrical panel has not seen major innovation for nearly a century.”