As energy prices continue to rise and more home owners look to the viability of things like solar, consumers will no doubt be searching for more ways to control their usage. Founded by ex-Tesla engineer Arch Rao, Span looks to address these questions, while asking, in a world of smart home devices, why the end-user access to grid energy has stayed stagnant for so long.
Span is a young company – founded roughly this time three years ago. This time last year, it raised a $10.1 million Series A, and by the end of the year, was rolling out its products to homes across the U.S. In January, it raised another $20 million.
While not disclosing actual numbers, Rao tells me that Span, is “starting to capture a meaningful share of the storage market in the U.S. Especially in key markets like California.” Make of that what you will, but the company is particularly targeting solar users with a battery capture system.
Announced today, Span’s second product is a smaller and more versatile unit, simply calling the Span Smart Panel. The system is also notably cheaper than its first-gen predecessor, knocking the $5,000 MSRP down to $3,500. Your results may vary on the price, as power companies will often bundle this technology with other offerings like solar panels.
“This is part of the original vision that we thought about with Nest,” Nest co-founder and Span investor Matt Rogers said in an interview with TechCrunch. “There’s a lot you can do with your home. Nest and Google are heading in different directions. But the opportunity to understand the energy in your home and be the glue and the command center is still really real. Especially in this world where energy costs go up, and where solar and storage become pervasive. You can’t imagine a world in the future like that, that doesn’t have something like Span.”
The system plays nicely with most home electrical breakers and offers minute control for circuits, as well as support for Ethernet, Wi-Fi, cellular and Bluetooth connections. The company offers simple device control through a connected mobile app.
“What we’ve done is fundamentally reinvent the home electrical panel,” Rao tells TechCrunch. “We are not tied to a single use case. We are the backbone of everything in your home. Some homes have thermostats, some don’t. Some homes have solar, some don’t. But practically every home has an electrical panel that is still using technology that is 100 years old.”