ARLINGTON — The Arlington-based solar energy manufacturing company OutBack Power Systems introduced a new gadget last month at Solar Power International 2008, a renewable energy conference in San Diego.
With current petroleum energy systems in question, solar power is seen by many as a part of the big-picture solution and representatives from Outback are optimistic.
“Things will start to change now with the state of Washington’s new incentive for alternative energies,” said Jack Crose, of the Outback marketing department.
The new gadget is called SMARTRE for Smart Renewable Energy Solution. It offers home owners and small businesses a solution to high costs and complex installations. The gadget allows installers to easily install a grid-tie system that harnesses the sun’s rays to create energy while simultaneously providing owners the peace of mind of battery back-up, always-on power.
It’s just one step in the process of breaking dependence on fossil fuels.
“The gadget is especially good for customers who want to sell power back to the grid and have the ability to produce and maintain power during a utility power outage,” Crose said.
“We’re not there yet, but are getting close to the point when the cost of solar is less than energy from fossil fuels.”
In San Diego, OutBack Power addressed issues found in other grid-tie with battery back-up solutions — including time required for installation and the location of installation.
A SMARTRE customer, Ananda Hartzell said it’s just what she was looking for.
“The SMARTRE product is a simple to install, pre-configured solar electric system with battery back-up for the looming winter storms ahead,” Hartzell said.
“It looks great, fits into my space-constrained basement, and has a battery capacity meter that even my 3-year-old understands.”
Crose said that Outback supplies solar energy equipment to many third world countries in Africa and Latin America, but that Germany is the biggest market in solar panels.
A privately-held corporation with 120 people on staff at the Arlington Airport industrial area, Outback also has a European sales office in Barcelona, Spain.
“We’re seeing a significant uptick in demand for residential and small business solar solutions and are pleased to have an OutBack option that meets our customers’ budgetary needs,” said Mark Thomas, CEO/President of OutBack Power Systems.
“A big part of our sales program is training,” Crose said. “We generally sell to installers, offering a couple of days of training on how to use the equipment.”
“We are big into rural electrification projects,” he said, adding that the World Bank is forming an alliance for world electrification, noting that a billion people on this earth don’t have electricity.
“Half of those are in Africa,” he said.
SMARTRE products will be available in the first quarter of 2009 and can be purchased through OutBack Power’s distribution partners.
For information visit the Web site at www.outbackpower.com.