Apartment renters need the landlord’s permission to install anything on their rooftops. This makes installing solar difficult for people who rent. Because most of the world lives in urbanized areas where renting is common, I think this is a problem standing in the way of solar adoption.
An additional speed bump is the complexity of installing solar: regulation around net-metering. Grid-tied systems. Installation permits (even if you do own your property). Getting quotes from different installers. Solar financing. All complex processes inherited from the construction industry which slow down mass private adoption of renewables.
We attempt to bypass both these problems by building a standalone solar power plant on for windowsill, rooftop or garden with off-the-shelf parts, and discuss the pros and cons of this approach to solar.
A windowsill solar system we install ourselves solves both problems at once: Renters don’t need permission from their landlords to place things on their windowsill and rooftops if it’s not altering the building, and it’s a one-click, direct purchase with no regulation as long as it’s not tied to the grid (which this one is designed not to be). Two birds with one stone. This makes the solar buying process more like buying a consumer electronic.
Our mission is to make purchasing solar/storage as easy as purchasing any other consumer electronic, as we believe in a bottom-up approach: once renewable energy does not require a professional it will spread as rapidly as other consumer electronics like satellite dishes and window AC units, etc.
Solar as a modular consumer electronic - like satellite dishes and air conditioning? (Satellite Photo by Paweł Czerwiński | Air Conditioner Photo by Chromatograph)
What if decentralized electric generation could be added room by room to a household (like window A/C units)?
If we look to the car, the smartphone, the window A/C unit — these devices spread like wildfire across the globe because they were off-the-shelf products that required no configuration but great benefits. Identical appliances were churned out at an industrial scale for a global audience. They were “plug n play”. Plug n play solar has been around for a while, but has never taken off (probably because behind-the-meter power is still sketchy and poorly understood). The potential for plug n play solar is huge — it could mean cheap, zero-configuration solar energy spreading to consumers at the pace of the smartphone, the car or air-conditioning.
Questions about whether it can run your device? Reach out!
Electrician-free. Permit-free. Screwdriver-free.
Moving? Take it with you. Roof damage? Never.
In Wildfires. Hurricanes. Blackouts. Reliable, fuel-free power.
Great portable system for camping & outdoors. Clean. No Noise. No trace.
Make your own energy. Be independent.
Nope. It generates electricity worth $25 a year.
Same lithium battery type used by Tesla. 540Wh of them.
Run a mini-fridge. TV. Laptop. Lighting. Phone.
Your kit will arrive within 2-3 weeks. It will look like below:
Unpack the boxes:
Place the panel on the rooftop, or in your back yard, or wherever you want it to go in the sunshine.
Assembly is simple – zip-tie to the panels anywhere in your garden, on your rooftop, to your balcony, etc. We zip-tie them so that strong winds don’t blow them away.
Connect the MC4 connectors to the 20ft connector cable that’s included. The MC4 connectors are dumb-ass proof, so only the right side will connect with the right side of positive.
Your panel should now look like this – with the cables leading to wherever your battery generator is – in our case, down the back of the building.
We then pass the cables through to the window inside…
and plug them into the included 2-to-1 adapter…
…and plug that into our battery.
Close the window on the (thick) wires and you’re good to go. We shall be offering a window transmission system soon, too. That’s it! Plug in whatever you want to power (up to 500W) – and you’re done!
These are some of the places we’ve seen the sunboxlabs testing kits in action.
In case of brownouts or blackouts, this is be a helpful way of wirelessly charging communications devices without the grid. This 500W, 540Wh system can even keep full-size, 120W refrigerator running for 4 hours to conserve food, or 10 lights running 24 hours.
During a utility power outage backup for any reason – be it hurricanes or a scheduled wildfire blackout your sunboxlabs system can act as a clean, quiet backup generator. It’s not “grid-tied”, so you’ll have to re-plug your device into the device’s socket or move it near the device you want to run. We will offer an option to plug it into your central fuse-box soon, too.
Be it burning man, music festivals, or a weekend getaway – you can run speakers and lights off this system for many hours.
Make clean, off-grid power in your garden or on your apartment rooftop (south-facing, slightly slanted or flat surfaces strongly with some hours of direct sunshine preferred). The cable should be able to run indoors, or you can provide power to your greenhouse, etc. If our initial run is successful, will offer expansions for you to upgrade to a full household-sized solar system and storage solution to take your home completely off-grid.
Free shipping anywhere in the US. You will receive a follow-up email with exact instructions.
Questions or want to say hello? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp +1 (917) 704 3031.
Due to popular demand, we have decided to offer mobile apartment solar kits with hand-picked and tested components guaranteed to work reliably together, distributed, sold and supported by sunboxlabs. If you’d prefer, you can still order components separately and assemble them yourself. This system is around 5x more powerful than the other ones on the site. We tried to build the best system we possibly could at the lowest possible price.
Order your Mobile Apartment Solar Kits, and you’ll receive in 2 boxes by us hand-vetted and tested components:
Does it have an impact on my CO2 footprint? Let’s calculate:
Production footprint mono-cristalline PV: 4200kWhee/kW  * 0.1kW = 420kWh embodied energy Production footprint li-ion 18650 battery: 321kWhee/kWh  * 0.5kWh = 161kWh embodied energy Total Footprint: 581kWh Annual energy production system: 155kWh/y Payback period: 581kWh / 155kWh/y = 3.7 year CO2 footprint payback
It’ll take 3+ years of usage until this system is CO2 net-positive.
What’s the payback period for our solar battery system? Will it save me money?
Payback period for 100W, 540Wh system System cost: $499 Yearly energy creation: 365d * 4.26hsun/d * 100W = 155kWh/y Yearly value creation: 155kWh/y * 15c/kWh = $24/y energy created 100W system payback period: $499 / $24 = 21 years until payback
In San Francisco, the payback is 10 years. The further south you are, or the more expensive energy is in your area, the shorter it’ll be. This system will not save you money until after that, and even then is definitely not a “money-saver”. It will however be more valuable in the event of backup generator needs, at camping/outdoors, and of course it’s just generally cool to be independent from the grid and make your own renewable energy.
Short answer It can charge all your laptops and phones and run your speakers and power your lights. It’s a powerful solar system with a powerful battery and inverter attached. It cannot run your iron or laundry, but it is enough to back up a full-size, family fridge for a 4 hours a day in summer if the power goes out, or easily power a mini-fridge at the beach for 24 hours. Have fun! :)
Longer answer is in SF it’ll make on average 4.26 * 100W = 426Wh (0.426kWh) per day. Of course in winter it’ll make less (around 300Wh), in summer more (around 800Wh). Of that 540Wh will be stored. And if you’re further north, maybe you will want a second panel for winters. And if you’re further south, even in winter your batteries will always be full even when you’re using energy all day from the system.
Any questions? Get in contact above.
Here are our main suggestions but you can get creative! Let the sunlight inspire you!
Yes you can! 12V DC in is supported, and an adapter is included in the box.
Lightweight: 4.8 lb / 2.2 kg Thickness: 1/8 in / 3 mm Flexing up to 30 degrees Stainless steel grommets in the panel, easy and low cost installation 25 year limited power output warranty Maximum Power(Pmax): 100W Maximum Power Voltage(Vmp): 18.7V Maximum Power Current(Imp): 5.35A Open Circuit Voltage(Voc): 22.3V Short Circuit Current(Isc): 5.70A Maximum System Voltage(Vmax): 600VDC Temperature Range: -40°C ~ 85°C Maximum Series Fuse Rating(A): 15A Weight: 4.8 lb Dimensions: 41.1 x 27.2 x 0.11 in
Capacity: Lithium battery 50AH/540WH Continuous Power: 500W Over-load Protection: 550W±50W Peak Output Power: 1000W Output Waveform: Pure sine wave DC Adapter Input Charge: DC 24V/3.75A AC Output Voltage: AC110V±10% 60Hz/AC220V± 10% Output Real Power: 87% Quiescent Current:＜3.5mA Under-voltage: 8.5±0.5V Over-voltage Protection: 13±0.5V Fuse: 3*30A Overheat Protection: ＞65°C Cooling Fan: Temperature control fan Short-circuit Protection: Have USB Output: TYPE-C+2.4A+2.4A+QC3.0 DC Output 1: Cigarette lighter 12V/8A DC Output 2: 12V*2 output ports (4A+4A) LED Lighting: 4W LED Light LED Instruction: Battery level, percentage, time, fan, DC, USB, AC output power, over temperature, as picture Solar Input Charging Panel(Optional): Voltage 18V 100W-200W Solar Panel Voltage: DC12V-24V Size/Weight: 10.24*6.7*6.82in / 5.5kg (12.13 lb)