span smart panel

The Span Smart Panel complete review

Just about every home has an electrical panel–it’s the metal box in your basement that you have to fiddle with every time you overload a surge protector or your lights aren’t working for some weird reason. Span is a company looking to modernize this ancient but essential technology with their Smart Panel: an industry-changing energy management product. 


NOTE: Span has released a new version of its Smart Panel. Learn more about the new Span Smart Panel here.

What is Span’s Smart Panel?

It’s a good question! In Span’s own words, their product “helps you seamlessly control your home energy and is purpose-built for solar, batteries, and EV charging.” In our words, Span’s Smart Panel is a modern take on the electrical panel that provides smart controls and insights into your home electricity usage. The Smart Panel is to electrical panels as smartphones are to cell phones: it’s an updated version of an established and essential product. The result? A more intelligent and useful window into your home electricity usage.

The panel itself is a white rectangular box that replaces your current electrical panel. All of your home circuits get wired into the Span panel, which you can then individually control and program using their mobile app. Each Span panel can be wired to 32 different circuits (and you can install multiple panels), so your whole home can be monitored and controlled through the Smart Panel.

Who should get a Smart Panel?


Anyone interested in better understanding and controlling their energy usage will love what Span does for you, but their panel is best suited for people who are looking to add clean energy upgrades to their homes. This includes home batteries, solar panels, and EV chargers.

What does the Smart Panel do? What problems does it solve?

Span’s Smart Panel is a replacement for your existing electrical panel that controls the flow of electricity to all of your home’s circuits. You can think of it as an electrical systems upgrade–it does everything your current electrical panel does and adds on several layers of smart energy management technology. 

There are three main areas the Span Smart Panel excels in: energy usage monitoring and control, optimizing a home battery backup, and integrating clean energy upgrades.

Energy usage monitoring and control

According to the Span website, their product “…brings you easy ways to understand and control your home energy from anywhere, at any time.” Using their mobile app, you can see what’s using energy in your home at any given time; it gives you real-time control to turn circuits on and off, from lighting and appliances to your air conditioning or heating systems. The Smart Panel has 32 controllable circuits per panel (and you can get multiple panels), so you can have as granular a view into your electricity as you want.

Span’s app also runs powerful performance analytics on your home to give you actionable insights about your energy usage. For example, you might learn that you’re using tons of electricity with an appliance you barely use, and turning it off will save you money over the course of a month.  

Home battery optimization

Span’s product is powerful enough as a replacement for your electrical panel, but some of its best features and benefits come out when you pair it with a home battery system. Specifically, Span helps you understand how much charge your battery has left and intelligently manages electricity during a power outage protection.

Understanding how much charge your battery has left: This one is pretty straightforward. With a Smart Panel installed, you’ll be able to see exactly how much longer you can run your appliances on the charge left in your home battery, not just what percentage of battery is remaining. During a multi-day outage, this helps you understand whether a solar powered battery will be able to power your home until the sun comes up the next day. Want to squeeze a little extra run time out of your battery? Use Span’s remote controls to turn off any unnecessary circuits pulling electricity from your battery.

Smart power outage protection: Span is also an excellent tool to protect your home against surprise power outages. When the grid goes down, unless you have a home battery or generator, you’re out of luck until your utility can fix the system. And even with a home battery, you probably won’t be able to run your whole home for very long before it gets drained. Enter Span: with their automatic load shedding feature, you can categorize circuits in your home as Must Have, Nice to Have, and Not Essential, so Span will automatically stop sending electricity to those non-essential circuits when the grid goes down. This helps your stored energy last longer, which makes power outages a lot less scary! As a bonus (and mentioned above), Span shows you how much time you can run your appliances on battery power, so you’ll know exactly how to plan for an extended outage.

Better integrate clean energy upgrades

A Span Smart Panel is specifically built to help integrate home energy upgrades like storage, solar panels, and electric vehicle charging. If you’re looking to install home batteries, having a Span panel will help you size your storage system correctly. We talked above about how Span can show you in detail how much charge your batteries have left and how automatic load shedding protects you against power outages, and these tools are essential to Span’s ability to help you correctly size a storage system. With granular controls, monitoring, and load shedding abilities, you can know ahead of time just how much storage capacity you’ll need to install to keep your home powered by storage during an outage. 

Additionally, if you have solar panels installed (or plan on installing them in the future), Span helps size your battery system correctly so you’re using as much of your own solar power as possible. This is especially powerful if you are on a variable electricity rate like demand charges or time-of-use.

And, finally, it’s worth pointing out the role Span can play in easing the electrification process in your home. The process of electrification in your home–i.e., swapping a gas stove for an induction range top, an internal combustion engine car for an electric vehicle, or fossil-fuel powered heating system for air or ground source heat pumps–can place additional stress on your existing electric panel and utility connection, which in some cases may even require an upgrade to handle that extra demand. By automatically managing home loads, and pausing loads or pulling from your battery when you’re using a lot of power, Span can even help you avoid a service upgrade in the future.

Technical specifications of Span’s Smart Panel

At its core, the Smart Panel is an electrical panel, and the technical specifications are important to keep in mind. The Smart Panel has 32 controllable circuits per panel, and you can install multiple panels for even more individual circuit controls. The panel accepts standard 1-in residential breakers, and has a 100A – 200A main breaker with a 225A bus.

Additionally, the Span panel comes with Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, and 4G/LTE internet connectivity, so you’ll be able to monitor and control your electricity from anywhere, at any time. You can mount the panel either indoors or outdoors as well.

Start your clean energy journey with EnergySage

The Span Smart Panel is an exciting development in the world of energy management, and it has the power to make home solar panels and storage systems even more powerful as resiliency and money-saving tools. The best way to start moving your energy usage towards clean energy is to compare quotes for solar panel systems, which you can do for free on the EnergySage Marketplace. Our network of pre-screened solar and storage installers will craft customized quotes for your unique property, taking into account your energy usage, location, roof type, personal preferences, and more. Get started today, or try our Solar Calculator for an instant estimate of your solar potential!


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About Jacob Marsh

Jacob is a researcher and content writer at EnergySage, where he's an expert on current issues–and new technology!–in the solar industry. With a background in environmental and geological science, Jacob brings an analytical perspective and passion for conservation to help solar shoppers make the right energy choices for their wallet and the environment. Outside of EnergySage, you can find him playing Ultimate Frisbee or learning a new, obscure board game.

2 thoughts on “The Span Smart Panel complete review

  1. Henri

    I was first very excited about this for Hybrid Inverter / battery system.

    One of the biggest issue I find with a Hybrid Inverter battery setup, is the fact that you have a critical load panel that only has a subset of your house circuits, due to the power limitation of the Inverter Critical Load panel output.

    The idea that you could have one panel with ALL the house loads, and in an outage have that panel manage what loads can be on while connected to the inverter, would indeed bring a lot of comfort and flexibility.

    But digging further, it looks like this is only true for tesla Powerwall / Gateway configuration.
    At first, I saw on their website they had the option for a Transfer switch inside the panel but asking them more details about how the panel connects with regular Hybrid Inverter / battery system, they said they no longer support that option.

    Apparently, the way they configure regular hybrid inverter is by connecting the Smart panel to the Inverter critical load panel output.

    If that is the case, then the Panel is ALWAYS limited by the Inverter critical Load output power capacity (even when grid is up), and therefore you cannot actually move ALL the house load in there.
    To allow the Smart panel to contain all House loads and actually replace all panels, you would need a transfer switch so that when the grid is up, the Smart panel is connected directly to the grid, allowing enough power for all loads, and in an outage the transfer switch flips the Smart panel to the Inverter critical load output, with the Smart panel automatically managing which loads can be used to prevent overloading the inverter.

    But unless I was misinformed, as it stands, the biggest feature/benefit of the Smart panel is basically not usable on a regular Hybrid inverter setup.

    Too bad….

    Reply

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