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Nature's Generator Business Partners Get Bright Idea

This pair of entrepreneurs is banking the future of their company on their self-contained solar-power system.

Camarillo firm banks on portable, eco-friendly solar-power system

This article excerpts from an article in The Acorn / January 12, 2018 


This pair of entrepreneurs is banking the future of their company on their self-contained solar-power system.

Connected to a solar panel, Nature’s Generator is a compact, portable generator that can deliver up to 1,800 watts of electricity. The company also sells separate, stackable Power Pods that can be connected to the generator to boost wattage and hours of use.

Adams said it took three years of research and development and roughly $500,000 to perfect the device, which looks like a camping cooler on wheels.

“This is in every way, shape and form going to be the future of our company,” he said.

Constructed from shipped-in components that the entrepreneurs assemble at their warehouse, the generator and a single solar panel aren’t enough by themselves to power an entire house or replace a rooftop solar array, Adams said.

Instead, the invention, which sells for just under $1,000, is designed to fill what the partners believe is a void in the solar-power market of smaller, more affordable systems.

“It’s ideal for RVs and campers,” Zhou, 37, said. “It’s perfect for powering tiny houses or to power a refrigerator to keep food cold and keep an electric heater working in the event of an outage.”

Although there are other electric generators on the market, their device is the world’s first “smart” solar-powered generator, the inventors said. It’s equipped with an on-board Bluetooth app that links to Android and iOS operating systems.

If anything goes wrong with their generator, the company can provide real-time assistance, Adams said.

“It’s kind of like a remote concierge, if you will, where I can go in remotely and instruct the customer or client as to what’s going on with the unit and what he needs to do to fix that problem,” he said.

To successfully market their product, his company will need to change people’s perceptions when they think about emergency power generators, Adams said.

“The issue with this kind of product is people only want it when there’s an emergency,” he said. “So, we’re trying to educate people that there are secondary, and tertiary, uses for this, so when an emergency does come up, you already have it.”

Except for the occasional windstorms, blackouts aren’t a big worry in California, but the state has an energy problem uniquely its own: It makes more juice than it can handle.

With the growth of alternative energy sources like wind and solar and an abundance of supply from natural gas power plants, the problem for California, according to energy officials, is that there’s not enough battery capacity to store excess electricity so that it can be used when it’s needed most.

As a result, last year California utility companies actually paid adjoining states like Arizona to take their excess electricity off the grid in order to avoid frying their lines.

At the same time, though, Californians paid an average of 15.3 cents per kilowatt, higher than the national average of 12.8 percent. In most cases, utilities are charging customers higher rates to cover the costs of new natural gas power plants.

Adams believes that’s where Nature’s Generator can help. The little generator can provide homeowners with some relief from high power bills while reducing the load on the state’s power grid during peak production periods.

“You can hook up two or three of your appliances to this and get off the grid,” Adams said.

Unlike gasoline-powered generators, Nature’s Generator is fume-free so it can be stored inside a home and linked to the solar panel by a cord. The device also has outlets for wind-generated power.

So far, orders for their generator have been brisk, the partners said. Product that once filled the warehouse sold out within months, and they are now waiting for a new shipment of components to begin building more generators to fill pending orders, they said.

“In a few weeks we expect to have the entire warehouse full, from floor to ceiling,” with components, Adams said.