Home » Technology » Your windows become powerful with SolarGaps


If you’re about to replace your roof, Tesla has you covered, but roofs have a long life span, and besides, not all of us have the luxury/misery of having a roof to replace in the first place. Most of us have walls with glass in them, however, and that’s the window of opportunity SolarGaps is reaching for, with a Kickstarter campaign for its solar panel window blinds.

At first glimpse, this sounds like a brilliant idea. Per square footage, we probably have more window glass than roof space in the world; why not leverage it? The slick Kickstarter campaign shows the company’s vision, which is undoubtedly ambitious. SolarGaps integrates with a smartphone app, Google Home, Amazon Echo and the Nest Thermostat. It can either feed electricity back into the grid or into a battery system like the Tesla Powerwall. On top of all that, the campaign claims the product can be custom-made for the same cost as (non-solar) motorized blinds.

In theory, the product is sound: On a south-facing wall, the most direct sunlight you can expect (averaged through the year) is about 10 hours per day. For a 10-square-foot panel (which the company quotes at $385), the company indicates around 1.5Kwh per day on average, or 500 kWh per year. At current prices, that’s power generation of around $88 per year, assuming it’s sunny every day. At a cost of $385, it means it’ll take about 4-6 years to earn the SolarGaps back, assuming all the estimates are correct, and you live in a place that has perfect sunshine year around.

Right off the bat, I spot a couple of challenges. Ask a 5-year-old to point at a window and they’ll point sideways. Ask them where the sun is, and they’ll point straight above. Which means that the sides of walls are already at a disadvantage to roof-mounted panels. Of course, the panels do live on slats, so it’s possible to point the panels toward the sun, but still.

The SolarGaps team sent me a small, approximately 3.2-foot panel to try out. The build…

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