We recently attended Fortune's Brainstorm green conference in California, where NRG unveiled their mini prefabricated Solar Canopy. The canopy offers an alternative to rooftop solar and provides a shady pavilion or parking area that can be placed in any garden or commercial lot. It's a tidy prototype for a new product that the energy company hopes to roll out by the end of the year.
The 10ft tall Solar Canopy measures 14 x 15 ft and has eight solar panels on its roof. This can generate 2.4 kilowatts of energy, or enough to cover half of a standard home’s energy usage. NRG will offer four different sizes in five different finishes, and the commercial model will generate three times as much energy as the prototype demonstrated at the conference.
Speaking at the event, NRG CEO David Crane said that the company was inspired to build the Solar Canopy after Hurricane Sandy left thousands of New Jersey residents without power for several days – even those 18,000 homes that had solar panels on their roofs. Because of the current system, they couldn’t use the solar panel’s energy until the entire grid network was repaired.
“We need solar, we need it distributed, and we need it to be wired so that it will work even when the grid is down,” Fortune quotes Crane. “We want to give people some grid autonomy.”
The Solar Canopy offer the perfect solution as a prefabricated, independent off-grid system that will be manufactured by Sunora Energy Solutions in Phoenix.
Images via Yuka Yoneda for Inhabitat, NRG