AV industry veteran Bob Rapoport believes that selling and installing solar power systems is the next frontier for the custom integration channel. NewPower, his new solar power system company that was unveiled at CES last week, offers a triple-redundant design that, company CEO Rapoport says, assures homeowners that they will never lose power again.
NewPower’s Hybrid Solar Power System includes 4,500 watts of solar power generation, backed up by 8,000 watts of battery power, which is backed up again by an 8,000-watt stand-by generator.
“Nothing is more ‘in-demand’ than electricity, just try living without it. All the other stuff our channel sells is meaningless without power,” Rapoport stated. “With solar having only two-percent market penetration, it was clear to me that something was wrong, the solar resellers out there today are electricians with some kind of agenda, environmentalists touting climate change as the primary thing to consider as they sell consumers twice as much as they need at exorbitant prices. Deal killer prices.”
As Superstorm Sandy clearly demonstrated, losing power from extreme weather events is much more common now, and that’s all the reason anybody needs, Rapoport added.
When Rapoport, who also serves as CEO of sales and marketing consultancy TRG Marketing, looked into solar power systems for himself, none of them had what he wanted to buy. “I had to design my own, from only the best components, all made in the USA. It’s a triple redundant design, using solar during the day, with a big battery UPS back up,” he said.
St. Petersburg, Florida-based NewPower sells its system, which has already begun shipping, for $29,995.95. Rapoport pointed out, however, that IRS is offering a 30-percent Federal Income Tax Credit for residential solar systems through 2016 and local power company cash rebates of between $2 and $4 per watt create the right incentive for consumers to make 2013 their year to go solar. The net cost of this system is $12,000, which is a 60-percent savings, he said.
As for custom integrators, Rapoport said that he’ll put a system together that CIs can sell, at his dealer cost plus five percent. “They can make 25-percent plus the labor,” he noted.
How the System Works
Rapoport said that with NewPower, 4,500 watts of solar power is generated when the sun is shining, an average of six to eight hours per day, over-riding the grid and enough power to run “the vast majority of homes.” After charging the batteries, excess power is sold back to the power company, reducing the annual power bill by 50-70 percent, he added. The grid is the first back-up during the day or night but if it goes down, the battery system then instantly transfers over and “light bulbs don’t even flicker.” During long disruptions, the generator keeps the batteries charged. As soon as the sun comes up or the grid is restored, the battery system goes to into recharge mode.
“As far as I know, NewPower is the only source for this complete system turn-key, ready to be installed,” Rapoport added. “We survey the job-site using Google Earth and tell the homeowner where to put the panels, in most cases on the poles that are customized in height for each project to make sure they get all the sunlight available. Rooftop mounting is also available but pole mounting allows the panels to be adjusted for the best angle to the sun in the summer and winter.”
The sleek black solar panels have a thick glass overlay to concentrate and focus the sun’s energy for increased efficiency and they are guaranteed for 25 linear years, Rapoport said. The battery system will last seven to 10 years in normal use and the latest Generac generator is designed for “grid-interactive” systems with battery back-up.
The battery system also can be tasked to operate just the audio-video computer circuits at night, delivering the cleanest off-grid power to sensitive electronics. “It’s the ultimate power supply for a home theater,” Rapoport said.
No Need to Stock Systems
The system is shipped directly to the job site, so integrators don’t have to stock anything. It comes pre-wired and tested. The system is in stock and ready to ship, running about two weeks backordered at the moment, according to Rapoport, but usually one week for delivery.
“I will teach installers how to sell it and install it by Skype, [but] it’s not rocket science,” Rapoport concluded. “It’s a dynamic moment for the solar power industry to take off and for CEDIA members to be a part of it. Many of them started selling generators this year; adding solar and battery storage is the logical next step.”
Interested parties should visit NewPower on the web or contact Bob Rapoport at 727.866.9767 or [email protected].