Orison is a San Diego-based startup with a pretty lofty goal — it’s trying to reduce your overall reliance on the energy grid.
Its flagship products, the Orison Panel ($1,200, £835, AU$1,700) and the Orison Tower ($1,550, £1,100, AU$2,200), are two Wi-Fi-enabled plug-in devices that can supposedly store up to 2.2 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy at a time. For reference, Orison says many of today’s fridges use roughly 1 kWh per day. That means one Panel or Tower could theoretically power your refrigerator for a couple of days — a huge benefit if you’re dealing with a power outage.
The idea is that you plug either a Panel or a Tower into an outlet in your home — it’s mostly a design choice whether you opt for a Panel or a Tower, since they offer the same energy storage capabilities, although Towers come with built-in speakers for added functionality and a slightly higher price. Then, the unit should automatically start to talk to the team’s cloud server and make choices about when to charge based on things like utility rates, peak demand charges, weather and blackouts.
You are also supposed to be able to use the related app to customize your settings and get the latest information on weather-related grid outages and more.
Once your unit has stored up all that energy, you can decide when and how to use it. One unit doesn’t store enough kWh’s to power your entire home. Instead, your Panel/Tower will be able to power just one circuit — whichever circuit it’s connected to when you begin to discharge it. You can also buy multiple units to take care of all of the various circuits in your home, but that can get pretty costly pretty quick.
Orison recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for its Panels and Towers, but the team has already raised over $110,000 — that’s more than double its original funding goal (and it still has 44 days to go). Prices start at $1,200, £835, AU$1,700 for one Panel and $1,550, £1,100, AU$2,200 for one Tower and Orison plans to start shipping units worldwide this August.
Orison offers a handy calculator that’s supposed to estimate potential energy savings over time, as well as how many Panels or Towers you’d need to tackle energy storage for your whole home. I entered in my info and it said I’d need five units for my apartment. $6,000 is a lot of money to spend upfront to keep my small place powered, but I suppose it’s the long-term calculations in savings that matter most.