by Jane Noble
Jan. 13, 2017
If your main concern is cheap energy, then the SunPort plug may not be for you. If however you care more about clean energy, then this little device lets you choose which energy you use. SunPort turns any outlet into a solar powered outlet, demanding and using only solar energy to run any appliance plugged into it. SunPort tracks the energy usage of the appliance then sends a signal saying it prefers to use solar power by way of renewable energy certificates (RECs). This all happens without you having to own and install expensive solar panels. It grants you access to an extensive solar network, a bit like how your smartphone runs on a mobile network that you don’t own.
Clean, renewable energy has been available for decades, but despite this fact the energy we consume in the USA is primarily from fossil fuels (over 90%), which are nonrenewable, leaving only 10% generated from renewable methods such as solar and wind. These fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide into our atmosphere which we all know is bad news.
Back in the 1990’s the US government devised a way to separate renewable energy from non-renewable energy. They created tradable commodities called Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). An REC represents one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity that was generated from a certified renewable energy resource. Solar REC’s (SRECs) were created for people and businesses to buy power specifically from solar providers. Now the only problem with this from the point of view of regular consumers is that one megawatt-hour is a huge chuck of power, far too much for an average household.
SunPort breaks down these SRECs into mini credits they call “SunJoules” so you can use solar energy in bite sized bits. The SunPort app lets the user see how much electricity they are using and how much they are contributing to the solar economy. You can also chart the combined impact of the SunPort community. A flat fee of $20 per year is added to your energy bill to cover the cost of claiming the SunJoules.
SunPort has partnered with the non-profit organization ReChoice. For each dollar SunPort spends to acquire SRECs, it donates matching funds to ReChoice, enabling them to build new solar for great causes like schools, charities and other non-profits.
To heal and cherish our earth, we must choose to live sustainably, which means conservation, using energy-efficient products and most importantly, choosing energy from renewable sources. SunPort is putting the power of choice into people’s hands and allowing them a voice to say - we want solar.
The Sunport retails for $59.99 and comes in 5 bright colors. I wonder if yellow is the most popular?