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How the MEGA works
Imagine a major household appliance that, instead of consuming electricity, generates and feeds renewable solar electricity to the house, EV and grid using a 240V plug and outlet.
GismoPower® has developed the MEGA®, a Mobile Electricity Generating Appliance, a portable carport on removable wheels integrating a high-power bifacial PV system and a powerful Class 2 EV-Charger, which also generates electricity for adjacent buildings and the connected grid. The MEGA fits neither the rooftop nor the ground-mounted solar PV categories.
This photovoltaic technology targets underserved “energy prosumers,” including renters, utilizing previously untapped surface areas for solar power generation: Commercial, residential, and public driveways and parking areas. Our market focuses on small businesses, modest family homes and everyone else who needs to move.
Mobile MEGA racks will enable moderate income Americans to adopt renewable energy generation in their parking lots and driveways for a fraction of the cost of comparable systems where neither rooftop nor ground-mounted solar work.
Four operational pilot MEGAs are connected to the electric grid in the US that provide data and performance statistics:
PILOT SITE #0 (Prototype - 20X 375W) Private Residence in Sarasota/FL
PILOT SITE #1 (MEGA - 9X460W) FREEDM SYSTEMS CENTER in Raleigh/NC
PILOT SITE #2 (MEGA - 9X490W) MAXOUT RENEWABLES in Livermore/CA
PILOT SITE #3 (MEGA - 9X490W) Private Residence in Walnut Creek/CA
In February 2023, FREEDM Systems Center at NCSU published the research report from their ongoing grid impact analysis study based upon the above measurement data.
Most experts agree distributed solar power is not only possible, it is also desirable from a prosumer perspective. MEGA enables self-consumption of renewable electricity at distributed sites.
Every kilowatt hour generated and consumed behind the meter at the same location does not need to be transported through the electric grid. Increasing self-consumption at distributed locations can effectively reduce the need to expand electric grid infrastructure. This is especially valuable for the ongoing transition to electric vehicles, which will significantly increase our reliance on distributed electricity.
Unfortunately, none of the economic advantages derived from increased self-consumption that directly benefit consumers without any “middleman” are reflected in the latest NEM 3.0 renewable energy compensation rate proposals for California. Rather, NEM 3.0 favors the incumbent electric power generators to such an extreme that renewable electricity sold to the electric grid by residential and commercial PV installations will receive a 0 cents/kWh monetary compensation rate at the times of the year when solar systems operate most effectively.
It exceeds our capabilities to resolve California’s NEM 3.0 injustices, but it is important to recognize how successfully the utility lobby has set the compensation rates to influence today's grid interconnection rules and regulations.
Limiting certification standards, permitting procedures, and interconnection agreements to rooftop and ground mounted solar systems, yet not providing similar opportunities for power generating solar appliances, cripples the adoption of renewable power generation.
This primarily affects renters and people or businesses in space constrained locations.
● The largest part of the costs for solar installations today are the soft costs like permitting, fees and commissions.
Electric Utility Corporations like Florida Power & Light are legally entitled to offset real estate costs and all operating expenses for their utility scale solar farms through capacity charges with guaranteed revenue, while residential PV system operators do not benefit from such regulatory entitlements.
Residential PV systems therefore play an irrelevant, almost negligible role in solar power generation. The actual share of Florida's 4.68% solar electricity generation capability from residential and commercial solar PV installations remains well below 1% in 2022.
● Most solar PV installers do not serve renters.
● Community Solar with remote net-metering is against the applicable laws in Florida which exclusively favor the utility corporations.
● The sole solar choice for most renters in Florida is to participate in a utility owned solar project.
● If renters in Florida would be able to offset their real estate costs and the installation costs for their solar PV systems through guaranteed revenue, they would become owners and not remain renters.
Tesla Roofs, which sell for $63K-$96K, certainly won’t get Power to the People. But even a standard rooftop solar system can be more expensive than a comparable MEGA system; When combined with an EV-charger and a canopy or carport, the cost advantage becomes significant:
Average installation cost without taxes and incentives:
Carport (homeadvisor.com) $ 6,395
EV-Charger $ 3,000
Rooftop Solar System 9KW
$2.77/Watt (EnergySage) $ 24,930
COMBINED TOTAL $ 34,325
GismoPower Dual Rack MEGA (~9KW)
TOTAL $ 25,000
Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE)
1. GismoPower Dual Rack MEGA
Total System Cost: $25,000
Less 30% Federal Tax Benefits: -$7,500
NET SYSTEM COST: $17,500
2. Total kWh Production over the 25 year component manufacturer warranty period:
Location: Livermore/Northern California
Settings: DC System Size: 9KW; Module Type: Standard; Array Type: Fixed(open rack) System Losses(%): 0; Tilt(deg): 0 Azimut (deg): 180; DC to AC Size Ratio: 1.18; Inverter Efficiency(%): 98.6; Ground coverage Ratio: 0
15,238 MWh / Year
15,238 MWh * 25 Years = 380,950 TOTAL kWh
3. $17,500 (net cost) / 380,950 (total kWh) =
LCOE = $0.046 per kWh
This mobile racking system will open the solar PV market to renters and people on the move. No dedicated single-use real estate area is needed for GismoPower. Fitting in neither rooftop nor ground-mount category, MEGA racks can be wheeled into garages and barns during adverse weather conditions.
Solar installation companies can increase productivity by deploying several standardized GismoPower systems per day via flatbed trailer, instead of getting caught in unexpected complications during tricky customized rooftop installations which sometimes require dangerous, acrobatic efforts at elevated heights.
The secret sauce to GismoPower is its Solar On Wheels®. Heavy-duty caster wheels allow the individual racks to be elevated and wheeled around without major effort. The PV-Inverter/EV-Charger can either be mounted to a close by wall or fixed to its own portable cart using an extension cord. Bad weather ahead? Simply lower the side panels and wheel it into the garage. The car still fits underneath.
The metal racks can optionally be anchored and bolted on asphalt or concrete surfaces. The solar panels pivot up when deployed, and are folded down when the units are wheeled into a garage or shelter. Florida is notorious for its hurricanes, but look at what just happened with hurricanes in New York & Connecticut and other high wind events in the rest of the nation. GismoPower will give its owners a chance to “unplug and store” beforehand, instead of “install and pray” during storm events.
On November 29th 2022, the United States Patent Office USPTO issued patent No. 11515833 for the Portable Solar Carport System. A PCT application to extend the patent coverage internationally and a patent continuation for the Electricity Generating Carport Appliance were filed timely.
GismoPower includes solar panel racks, solar panels and UL-1741 certified electronics which conform to the latest distributed generation rapid shutdown safety standards.
Unlike with roof-top solar systems or fixed solar carports, GismoPower allows convenient access to panels, module-based electronic components and wiring for trouble-shooting, maintenance and upgrades.
One of GismoPower’s primary design goals is to create technology which pays for itself quickly, so the team has avoided costly battery backup technology for now. The present electric system was intentionally designed to operate “grid-tied,'' but it is of course possible to combine a GismoPower version with different electronic components to operate "off-grid," and this concept can be pursued in the future, funds permitting.
The team understands that a version equipped with battery backup and V2X technologies would be especially helpful for disaster response or in remote locations without reliable electric grid connection.
Florida Statute 163.04
Energy devices based on renewable resources.
F.S. 163.04 (2) A deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement may not prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources from being installed on buildings erected on the lots or parcels covered by the deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or binding agreement. A property owner may not be denied permission to install solar collectors or other energy devices by any entity granted the power or right in any deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement to approve, forbid, control, or direct alteration of property with respect to residential dwellings and within the boundaries of a condominium unit. [..]
For well over a decade, the Sarasota County Department of Planning & Development Services has been embroiled in corruption and misconduct scandals, involving former Building Officials Kathy Croteau and Greg Yantorno as well as a former code enforcement officer.
Disregarding the state-wide FSEC 203-17 certification by the Florida Solar Energy Center , the Sarasota County Building Official withheld our solar permit application.
- Nov 12th 2021 Electrical Review: APPROVED
- Jan 26th 2022 Zoning Review: NOT REQUIRED
- Jan 25th 2022 Building Review: FAILED
The Sarasota County Building Official neither approved nor denied the building permit application:
- STEVE BELL: DECISION February 9th 2022
Pursuant to Florida Land Use and Environmental Dispute Resolution Act (“FLUEDRA”):
Appeal against withholding the Solar Permit
Sarasota County responds to the Appeal
Building Code Board of Adjustments upholds the decision:
- Theresa Toole WRITTEN ORDER
Building Code Board of Adjustments & Appeals
International Solar Energy Society, German Section
According to a new report from the HTW Berlin – University of Applied Sciences, and German consumer association Verbraucherzentrale NRW, more than 190,000 plug-in solar devices have been installed in Germany in recent years. In 2020 and 2021 alone, up to 128,000 of these photovoltaic systems, with a total output of up to 51MW, were added:
- Der Markt für Steckersolargeräte, HTW Berlin, 2022
- Quo Vadis Steckersolar, B. Preaetorius, R. Hoelger, 2021
A 2016 study by NREL identified 8,130 million square meters of suitable rooftop area for PV installations in the continental U.S, amounting to 2,008,966 acres, which could potentially supply up to 14.8% of the entire U.S. electric power consumption.
According to the UC Berkeley's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, there are about 3.4 parking spaces in the USA for each car, and many well-cited and informed guesstimates say there may be as many as 8 outdoor parking spaces per car. With about 250,000,000 cars in the US, and the assumption that only 2 parking spaces with 180 sqft per car would be suitable for solar installations, one arrives at a photovoltaic parking area potential of ~ 2,066,115 acres.
Using different data sources, one arrives at similar metrics for parking-space solar potential. As of September 2020, there were 213,300,000 single-family dwellings in the United States and 38,000,000 multifamily units. If 2 outdoor parking spaces with 180 sqft per housing unit were covered with solar panels, one could cover approximately 2,076,859 acres with solar panels.
Both estimation methods would arrive at slightly larger solar potential than the solar rooftop potential determined by NREL in 2016.
Without counting any commercial or institutional parking areas, the above numbers lead to the conclusion that driveways and parking spaces offer an underexploited solar generation potential, combined with an underserved market potential of ~250,000,000 suitable private residences x $18000 = $ 4,500,000,000,000.
According to Bill Nussey's book "Freeing Energy," The US has 3,797,000 square miles of land total, so only 0.5% of the total land mass would be needed to power the entire nation with solar energy. However, according to SEIA.org, the “Sunshine State” Florida covers an anemic 4.68% of the total electricity generation with renewable resources in Q2 2022, which includes large utility scale solar farms owned by corporations like FPL and Duke Energy.
The actual share of Florida's 4.68% solar electricity generation capacity from residential and commercial rooftop & ground-mount solar systems remains well below 1%.
The passion for solar energy runs in the family. Our home has 66 rooftop photovoltaic solar panels and we officially run our entire home including all our EV's on solar electricity since 2017.
Florida Power & Light enforces unfavorable policies which limit privately owned solar system installations to 115% of PAST usage and requires a system generating more than a theoretical maximum of 10KW to pay for an extraneous, unjustified liability insurance.
In 2019, the Gismo team made an attempt to fix this issue by filing a petition with the Florida Public Service Commission against Florida Power and Light (FPL) who disincentivizes powerful residential solar systems and appealed the FPSC's denial of the petition.
- May 13th 2020 - SC19-1873 Initial Brief of Merits
- July 4th 2020 - SC19-1873 Reply Brief
In 2020, we intervened before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in support of net-metering and just monetary compensation for generated solar electricity.