From cost savings, to grid resiliency, to reducing carbon footprint, the benefits of electrification are attracting more and more homeowners every day. If you’re a homeowner considering electrifying part–or all–of your home, you might be thinking about upgrading your current electrical panel. Span is a company looking to provide you with a modernized electrical panel that includes smart controls and monitoring of your electricity usage. Their new Smart Panel offers upgrades and cost savings compared to their previous model, and could be a good investment for you, whether you’re looking to install solar, storage, or fully electrify your home!
- The Span Smart Panel is a smart electric panel that serves as an energy management system for your home
- Energy management systems provide homeowners with monitoring and control of their energy usage, and are particularly useful when you’re looking to electrify part or all of your home
- Span’s new Smart Panel is more affordable and has a sleeker design than its previous model; Span has also recently launched a new app providing great energy insights
- Installing an energy management system can ultimately save you money, especially if you already need to upgrade your electrical panel or are looking to install storage
- If you’re looking to start electrifying your home, visit the EnergySage Marketplace to compare quotes for solar or solar-plus-storage systems
What’s home electrification?
At its core, home electrification entails upgrading your home’s appliances and energy sources so that eventually everything is powered by clean electricity. Currently, your home is probably mostly powered by gas or oil. For example, you may have a gas stove top, an oil furnace, or a gasoline-powered vehicle. If you were to electrify your home, it would include upgrades such as an electric stove top, an air-source heat pump, and an electric vehicle (EV)–all hopefully powered by solar panels! Span fits into home electrification by offering an electrical panel with monitoring and control capabilities to give you more insight into and power over your home’s electricity. In Span’s words, they “reinvented the electric panel to make every home clean and empower each one of us to be champions of the climate movement.”
What are energy management systems?
Span’s Smart Panel is a type of energy management system, which means that it offers both monitoring and control of your energy usage. With an energy management system, you’re able to track how much energy your devices are using and turn each circuit on and off–all remotely from your phone! In terms of home electrification, an energy management system essentially serves as the “brain” of your home, allowing you to optimize how you use your electricity, where it comes from, and, ultimately, how much you spend on it.
The new Span Smart Panel
You may have read our review of Span’s first Smart Panel, which was on the market for about a year and a half. After working closely with installers, Span created a new Smart Panel, which they announced in May 2021. In Span’s words, their new panel is “purpose-built for the connected, resilient, and all-electric home,” which isn’t to say it won’t benefit you if your home isn’t all electric! Similar to its predecessor, the new Smart Panel comes with 32 controllable circuits per panel, and you can install multiple panels if you want more individual circuit controls. It accepts standard 1-in residential breakers, and has a 100A – 200A main breaker with a 225A bus–but it also comes with some notable upgrades to the previous version.
Span has also recently launched its new app as well, which provides greater insights into your energy usage, such as where your energy is coming from and how much battery you have left.
Comparing Span’s original vs. new Smart Panel
Span designed their new Smart Panel to be easier to install, more affordable, and more aesthetically pleasing, allowing homeowners greater flexibility for where they install it. It can be mounted either outside or inside your house–and with its sleek design, you may even want to show it off (unlike a typical electrical panel)! Below, we’ve provided the major differences between Span’s original Smart Panel and their new Smart Panel.
|Original Span Panel||New Smart Panel|
|Depth from wall||3.5 inches||<1 inch|
|Carrying capacity of individual circuits||70 amps||90 amps|
So, in addition to paying less for a new Smart Panel with it’s lower MSRP–note, you’ll still have to pay for installation costs on top of this price–you’ll also get a panel that takes up less space in your home, while supporting higher loads for each circuit.
Comparing the cost of energy management systems
For a lot of us, paying $3,500 plus installation costs is still quite a lot of money! So how can energy management systems like Span’s new Smart Panel be cost effective for you? There are a few different scenarios to consider when deciding if an energy management system is right for you, which you can learn more about in this article. But for now, we’ll cover some of the basics by comparing energy management systems to other home upgrades.
Energy management system vs. new electric panel
First off, if you’re planning to install solar panels or electrify your whole home, you may already need to upgrade your electrical panel. Most people, especially those with newer homes, won’t need to upgrade their electrical panel for solar panels alone, but if you’re planning to electrify everything and add EVs, your current panel might not be able to support your new electrical load.
In general, if you’re just looking to add solar, you’ll need a 200 amp panel and a replacement will likely cost you anywhere between $1,000 to $3,000–so, paying a premium for an electrical panel that also allows for monitoring and controls is a worthwhile investment. Additionally, by installing an energy management system before you install solar, you can often cut down on installation and design costs, not to mention better size your solar panel system, immediately reducing the payback period of your solar investment.
Energy management system vs. only storage
Energy management systems are an attractive option if you’re looking to install a solar battery. In most cases, if you’re installing a battery, you’ll need to install a critical load panel–essentially a secondary electrical panel that protects your appliances and battery from unintended electrical failures, while ensuring that your most important appliances and devices remain powered via your solar battery. With Span’s Smart Panel, you won’t have to install a separate critical load panel and–crucially–you’ll have more control over what your battery is actually powering. You’ll be able to control how you use your battery, and remotely decide which circuits are turned on and off, giving you real-time flexibility.
Span has also announced that it will soon implement over-the-air software updates that will allow you to change the rate of charge for your devices from your battery. Span estimates that the added control you get from their Smart Panel translates to about 1.7 times the value per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for your battery–this means you’ll need to purchase fewer kWhs to provide the same amount of resiliency, meaning you might save money by adding either a smaller batteries or fewer batteries to your system.
Want to start electrifying your home?
If you’re looking for solar or solar-plus-storage options, make sure to check out the EnergySage Marketplace. You’ll get free, customized quotes from local installers so you can choose a system that meets your needs at your price. If you’re planning to install a Span Smart Panel first, be sure to make a note in your profile–as we said, you might be able to save money on installation and design costs!