Solar Home Lift
Solar Home Lift is a home elevator designed to operate with single phase power or by a small self-standing photovoltaic system or by any other type of renewable energy source. Its maximum lift capacity reaches the amount of 300Kg and it is designed to be installed within houses or small blocks of flats. It uses an extremely low amount of energy for standby and drive operation, while at the same time can provide energy for other uses as well. The power stored in its batteries is approximately 4Kwh and it can be used either for the lift operation (providing power independency for three days), or for auxiliary power needs within the house (e.g. safety lights in the house during the night).
The Solar Home Lift can produce approximately 500Kwh per year (Data for Thessaloniki - Northen Greece). Out of this amount,150-200Kwh are used for the lift operation while the remaining is available for other domestic uses. The lift is powered by batteries, so the risk of inside entrapement is equal to that of a conventional lift. It can operate as an alternative lift with single phase power from the electricity net.
Solar Home Lift requires a small space for its installation (1m2) while the pit required to be constructed in is quite shallow (200mm), easily fitting to any user needs. Furthermore, its electronic systems can live longer since the produced power is of better quality than that of the electricity networks, while at the same time its main components (motor, inverter, panels, PLC, electrical components) are common market components easily available. From an energy saving point of view, this equipment is of high-tech automation and offers better power management. The users save the cost of the three-phase connection power which in some cases is quite high in Greece.
Three units of the solar home lift have already been installed in Northern Greece. The first two units are using single phase power from the electricity net and the third one is a full solar home lift framed by a photovoltaic system. The results gathered from these three installations are promising, with the measured consumption being lower than that initially estimated, due to the more efficient operation of the motor in real conditions.
Barriers and Drivers
Market demand: The technological trends lead the way to a future of domestic appliances that will be powered by renewable power sources. The constantly rising cost of energy, the need for saving power in domestic appliances and the strong belief that in the near future the existing technology in renewable sources can provide us with all we need to achieve power saving in all applications was a key incentive.
Market trends: It is very likely that in the next 10 years renewable sources will be available, if not mandatory, to all houses, so all domestic devices must be able to be operated using these types of power source.
Lack of Resources:The small size of the company by means of involved personnel is a barrier towards a quick deployment in the Greek market. The limited human resources (the company consists of only two people) have prevented the company from expanding and developing its product better and faster.
Financial risk: The Greek financial crisis and the unstable social and financial situation in the Greek state and market decellerated the company's efforts to promote the product. To use the investors own words, 'Eco-innovation comes second when economical crisis is outside your door'.
The Solar Home Lift is 15% more expensive compared to a common lift. However, in the near future it is expected to go into mass production, hence its cost will be significantly reduced. Saving cost from the operation of the lift can soon balance the extra cost of the lift taking into account that the lift has a lifespan of approximately 20 to 30 years.
The Solar Home Lift, can be used as a demostration tool to raise awareness on renewable energy sources and on how these sources can be efficiently inegrated in everyday life.
All the power needed for the operation of the Solar Home Lift is produced either by photovoltaic panels or other renewable sources. For that reason, this product has zero carbon dioxide footprint.
The power produced by the photovoltaic system can be also exploited in other domestic uses and in this way can reduce the carbon dioxide footprint of the target households in general.
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