Solar energy startups may well fuel the next Silicon Valley boom and I am all for it! It is great to think about VC dollars and nights and weekends of entrepreneurs being used to support sustainability and to free us from our oil addiction and save us from John McCain’s “100 year war”. But please, remember the lessons learned by the software and systems start-ups of yore. Don’t try and boil the ocean – instead - create a solution for the lowly person like me, sitting in Hilo, Hawaii with an 875 watt Sony laptop and an electric bill that is already high and soon to climb to the stratosphere with the rising price of oil.
Today a medium priced solar panel provides about 185 watts and requires that I cobble together a solution with panels, daisy chained batteries, inverters and controllers. Translating solar power output to electronic device wattage speak is impossible. I need a solar solution that is portable (not 4 or more hard panels that I have to install on the roof of my rental house) to power my laptop. I want an integrated, turnkey system and best practices to go with it. We learned when creating complex IT software and systems, the best sellers were the products that installed easily and had interfaces that the common person could understand.