Get ready because SunPort is coming to Kickstarter Tuesday, July 28. Soon you too can plug into solar power, and we can all do something about these guys.
Recently, I visited with my Aunt Ethel on the occasion of her 98th birthday. After the lunch conversation and presentation of flowers, she asked what I have been doing. I was happy to tell her about writing for a company working on solar energy and figured that would be the end of the topic. How wrong I was! The rest of our visit went something like this:
A.E.: What kind of solar company is it?
Me: Well, to tell you the truth, it’s a completely new concept in delivering solar power.
A.E.: How does it work?
Me: You put this special plug into an outlet, and it records your energy usage. Then it automatically matches the energy you use with solar credits. You can take the plug anywhere with you. You can use as many plugs in your house as you want.
A.E.: That’s unique! Where does the power come from?
Me: (Really warming to the topic) The solar energy can be generated anywhere. In fact, this company has a partner that puts solar panels on the roofs of non-profits who then benefit by receiving some free energy. They can also purchase energy from utilities or other solar generators.
A.E.: (Totally understanding this concept) My word! So, you can have solar power without panels on your roof?
Me: (Completely amazed at this sharp-as-a-tack 98 year old) You’ve got it! Our cousins in Washington can get solar energy even though they hardly have sunshine.
A.E.: Well, this is a whole new idea! How wonderful! I could even use it.
I’m thinking that I know what to get Aunt Ethel for Christmas – a SunPort that she can use at the retirement community to charge her power scooter!
We have good news for you, our followers! As we prepare to launch our kickstarter we are rebranding as SunPort. Don’t be confused. We are the same people, driven by the same vision. This new brand brings our vision one step closer to reality.
Q. What motivated this change?
A. People who don’t know us were confused by our hodgepodge of product names and brand identities. Before we could launch a kickstarter campaign, we needed a single brand and a single message that anybody can understand and remember.
Q. Why are you launching the SunPort, not a different product?
A. The SunPort gives everybody plug-in solar access. It can be seen and held. It can be taken anywhere and shown to friends and strangers alike. It can be used even if you don’t have a utility bill. It can be given as a gift without breaking the bank. We think SunPort is a product that can fundamentally change the way people think about energy.
Q. Why are you launching on Kickstarter?
A. SunPort is about empowering the crowd, so launching on a crowdfunding site just makes sense. Kickstarter gives us the opportunity to connect with people who want to be part of our beginning and grow with us. If you have never backed a kickstarter, you really should try because it is very different from simply buying something online. Go to their site, find a project you like, and spend a couple dollars to help make a creative project possible – with Kickstarter you become part of a launch, part of a cause.
Q. What are your next steps?
A. The campaign launch is almost here. We are planning to send our first email blast tomorrow and will be inviting a select group of people to preview our kickstarter page later this week. Based on the feedback we receive, we expect to make a few final tweaks before opening it up to the press and general public late this month.
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1) It’s an acronym – S.U.N.P.O.R.T. – standing for ‘Solar Use Not Panels On Roof Tops’. We want people to focus on the goal, not the hardware that gets us there.
2) As a startup we wanted to pay tribute to our local history, so we named it after the Albuquerque International Airport – the Sunport.
3) We considered many names: SunAdapter, SunBox, SunCube, SunDevice, SunEgg… but by the time we got to ‘P’ we had run out of creativity.
4) SunPort is the world’s first ‘portable’ solar access point! Our marketing consultants told us the name had to refer to this feature.
5) The founder liked Star Trek, and his son liked Pirates of the Caribbean, so they went with a sort of ‘interstellar piratey’ theme for their traffic in Joules.
*None of these theories are 100% historically accurate.
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Most of us are looking for ways to make a difference and live a sustainable life, but it’s overwhelming when you look at the whole big problem. We can’t single-handedly stop the icebergs from melting; we can’t all live off the grid.
The good news is that you can do a few things that require little investment in time or money but will make a huge difference if we all work together.
1. At the end of this month, we are launching a KickStarter campaign for our SunPort. If everyone makes a small donation, we can get this product out to the public in no time!
2. Next time you visit Santa Fe, stay at Hotel Santa Fe and ask that your room be powered by solar energy. They will happily accommodate you with the help of our sister company, Stay.Solar. When visiting other hotels, tell them about Stay.Solar too.
3. When you are hankering for a cup of coffee and a good summer read, go to one of the Flying Star restaurants that feature our solar charging stations. That way, you can linger as long as you like, knowing you can recharge your phone with solar energy!
Oh, and we’ll add one more idea – share our news with your friends. We can all jump on the solar bandwagon and help create a sustainable movement!
Photo by ravas51
Here Comes the Sun!
We are happy to announce that all of the electricity used during Sonic Bloom, Colorado’s premiere music event will be offset with 100% solar power provided by SunPort. Attendees will enjoy concerts, speakers as well as interactive art and yoga performances – all offset with solar.
The event, which is being held June 18-21, has a long history of sustainability. Attendees are encouraged to carpool and make Sonic Bloom a zero waste event, but this year they will also be encouraged to #plugintosolar. SunPort CEO Paul Droege said partnering with music promoters is a great opportunity to get everyone involved in using solar energy. “Young people love the idea of using solar to offset their carbon footprint, but they need an easy way to make it happen.”
At large events, on-site panels don’t work well – that’s where SunPort comes in. Using solar power generated elsewhere, we are able to ensure that the electricity used at the event is offset, thereby canceling out the carbon footprint.
In a groundbreaking move for Plug.Solar, we partnered with Rhymesayers Entertainment, a popular independent hip hop record label based in Minneapolis, to power their entire Soundset 2015 concert festival with solar energy. Plug.Solar offset all of the generator power used during the event—including performances by Ice Cube, Ludacris, and Atmosphere, among other notables—with 100% solar power.
Plug.Solar CEO Paul Droege said the partnership was a natural fit. “We want everybody to be using solar. Many young people love solar, but they need an easy way to access it. Putting panels on the roof just doesn’t cut it.”
On-site panels also don’t work well for big events like Soundset—that’s where Plug.Solar comes in.
“We offset their power with energy from large scale solar installations. Some equipment was still connected to generators, but this way the carbon impact was neutralized.”
Plug.Solar also demonstrated the SunPort in select locations around the festival. It was an early chance to see this new way to plug into solar power—no panels required—before it launches on Kickstarter in June 2015.
What are SRECs? Hint: Not dinosaurs…far from it!
Do you ever find yourself on acronym overload? Sometimes finding out what a string of letters mean, much less using that information, is an exercise in futility. Not so when it comes to SREC, which stands for Solar Renewable Energy Credits. S-REC’s are your ticket to having the POWER to erase your own carbon footprint, using solar energy, without long-term contracts or panels on your roof.
How does it work? It’s easier than you think!
1. Imagine that you plug an appliance into a special device – our SunPort. Plug that SunPort into an outlet – wherever you are: home, on vacation, at a friend’s house….
2. This little device tracks how much electricity the appliance uses, and matches this energy with micro-sized SRECs, called SunJoules.
3. SRECs are the industry’s way to keep track of renewable energy. They certify how much solar energy goes into the grid – and how much factories, homes, and even appliances like yours take out.
4. The technology balances all this in the backend, so it all evens out. Presto – you plug in the SunPort, use solar power from the outlet (the grid), and automagically create demand for more solar energy.
5. You are a hero, erasing your carbon footprint. Every little bit helps!
You are invited!
We have a chance to win the Scrappy Startup Challenge hosted by ABQid and the New Mexico Technology Council. This evening Jonathan from the Plug.Solar team will be pitching at the Hyatt at 5:30, get your tickets at: http://holdmyticket.com/event/204525
Earth Day in the Nation’s Capital
What were the best parts of this year’s Earth Day festivities? Maybe meeting dignitaries in the nation’s capital. We got so much support – special thanks to Gary Oppedahl, Director of Economic Development for the City of Albuquerque, for facilitating meetings with Senator Martin Heinrich and Senator Tom Udall (isn’t name dropping fun?).
“People want choices and if they don’t get choices they will start unplugging from the grid altogether.” – Senator Udall
“I’m a tech geek, so I looked you up ahead of time and completely understand how you’re creating a demand for solar.” – Brian Crone, Energy Advisor to Representative Lujan
“People in multi-family units, like myself, who are sustainably conscious, need access to solar. Without this I wouldn’t be able to contribute to the demand for solar.” – Don Burke, proud owner of 6 new SunPort beta units
Festivities in Dallas
We also had a great time meeting folks at Earth Day Texas. Overheard in conversations at our booth: “Mind blowing. Best invention I’ve ever seen!” “I love you guys, and I’ll probably only say that to 2 other booths here.” “That’s freaken awesome!” “I just got goosebumps.” Yes, the SunPort tends to provoke those sorts of responses.
And an Announcement in Albuquerque
To top off the week, we made a local television appearance to announce our partnership with Flying Star.
But maybe the best part is knowing that we are on the cusp of a whole new world – helping individuals make a difference – and ready to make Earth Day last all year!