If you like the idea of using solar energy but don’t want to make the commitment to installing solar panels, you have an alternative, and it’s made in Albuquerque.
PlugSolar has created a product that lets you plug into solar power anywhere you go. The SunPort is a plug adapter that fits into any outlet and automatically upgrades the electricity you use into solar power using solar credits.
Creator and CEO Paul Droege saw how complicated getting solar energy was and the many barriers which held the average person back from using it. By creating the SunPort, he knew he could make accessing solar energy easy for just about anyone.
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“I think [solar power] is something everybody should have,” Droege said. “People who would benefit the most from solar, can’t afford it. I wanted to do something to make it available for everyone.”
And people are noticing. SunPort recently won the Consumer Electronic Startup Award for 2015 from the Consumer Electronic Association (CEA). PlugSolar entered the competition with around 100 other companies nationwide, won the local round in Albuquerque and then landed among the top five companies at CEA’s Celebrate 2015 in Las Vegas, where it snagged the Consumer Electronic Startup honor.
The award comes with prize money as well as automatic entry into Tech Wildcatters, a mentor-driven accelerator that unlocks up to $100,000 in funding as a company reaches certain milestones.
“Winning these awards is great because it means we are onto something,” IT Director Nick Williams said. “It’s validating.”
SunPort went through ABQid to help create its product, and the company ran a Kickstarter campaign this summer to raise funds. The Kickstarter ended recently and one of the group’s biggest goals is to make sure they fulfill those commitments on time. They hope to deliver the product to funders in March 2016.
So what is next for this solar company? Well, they aren’t slowing down. They will be setting up for upcoming competitions and doing further safety testing beyond the legal standards. They will also be working on a phone app.