Sunzilla Provides Open Source Renewable Energy

SunZilla is a solar-powered generator that provides a clean and easy-to-use alternative for off-grid electricity supply. Its battery storage ensures a reliable and flexible supply even at night or on less sunny days.

SunZilla grew out of an environmental nonprofit that ran environmental education projects and projected movies in remote areas, which meant that they were using diesel generators. Winzer and his co-founders — Vivien Barnier, Leonie Gildein, Jochen Ruess, and Laurin Vierrath —realized the contradiction in using such a polluting technology to promote green practices, so they started looking for a better way.

SunZilla is designed for use in a household up to 7 persons to cover basic power needs. It is possible to run a fridge, charge mobile phones & to use electric lights.The basic SunZilla includes a Solar Sail to collect energy, a monitoring software, battery storage, and an inverter where you can connect your devices.

What Sets SunZilla Apart?

Open Source From the start, the team wanted their solar generators to be based on highly accessible, downloadable open-source designs. This feature makes SunZilla easy to sustain and repair. In the beginning, this applied only to the modular, plug-and-play concept of the generator, but now it has expanded to cover other aspects, including the battery charger, AC converter, and regulation system. The solar cells, inverter, and charge controller are yet not open source.

Intelligent Sunzilla comes with a mobile app that provides insights into your energy production and usage. It also allows you to monitor the SunZilla and to set personal preferences. Via the app, you get an overview of incoming and outgoing power, battery status, and monitoring possibilities to set own preferences.

Modular SunZilla is modular, which means you can interconnect multiple SunZilla systems to enlarge the power of the system and form a micro-grid. The Energy Kit can be chosen and adapted according to your needs. The smallest configuration could be running lights, charging a laptop and mobile phone, and having a little fridge connected. Larger configurations would allow electric kettles and heating plates to be added.

Plug & Play Pick your energy kit, plug together the modules, and SunZilla is ready to be used without the need for any external help.

Portable The Solar Sail can be folded for transportation, and SunZilla can be stacked and easily transported by one person. The whole system weighs only 25 kg.

Independent SunZilla provides independence from the need to purchase fuels and removes any interdependence from existing grid infrastructure. Now, you do not have to go searching for the nearest petrol station.

Silent SunZilla is completely silent and does not produce any noise!

Vision for a Renewable Future

Renewable energy sources make people more independent, but Sunzilla also believes that they are the key to decentralized and truly democratic energy production and consumption.

“SunZilla [is] most suitable for regions with a weak or no grid connection, especially in developing countries and marginalized communities. Therefore, we are in contact with several partners at the moment to find ways of implementing the system in these areas with local expertise. By this, we want to understand the local technical, social and economical needs.” – Joscha Winzer, founder

They want to enable refugees with sustainable energy solutions that improve living conditions and promote education and innovation among refugees. They foster new job opportunities in the camps, economic growth for local communities, and improved self-reliance. Their ambitions go well beyond energy generation, as they envision a range of applications for the SunZilla System (such as water purification and communication).

The SunZilla team envisions a whole range of eventual applications for their system beyond energy generation — such as water purification, cooling, heating, and telecommunications. To that end, the unit’s core modules and pinouts are clearly documented on Instructables, creating space for members of an open-source community to develop plug-and-play modules that serve their own needs, and to make these applications available for others.”

Solar energy is a free source of power that can be sustainable and socially conscious. SunZilla promotes environmentally-friendly energy use, but it also aims to give people back the power. SunZilla wants to enhance the knowledge transfer needed to spread solar energy around the world, especially in areas without power, or unreliable grid connections.

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