Portable solar carport designed by student wins Genius award


From pv magazine USA

A student from New College of Florida, Antonia “Toni” Ginsberg-Klemmt, won a $10,000 OZY Genius Award for what she calls Gismo Power, a mobile solar carport with an integrated electric vehicle charger.

Ginsberg-Klemmt’s Gismo Power is a foldable solar carport that’s entirely mobile and can be folded for storage in a garage, in the event of a hurricane or any other extreme weather occurrence. In operation, the appliance can fit up to 24 solar modules on its frames, which can be angled or lowered depending on the position of the sun at any given time.

Antonia Ginsberg-Klemmt’s Gismo Power in action

The appliance also utilizes a SolarEdge Inverter/EV charger. This is connected to a 50ft extension cord, which serves as the plug for the Gismo Power to connect to the grid.

The OZY Genius Award is a $10,000 prize awarded to 10 college students pursuing “projects or ideas that have a positive impact on society.”

Gismo Power folded and stowed in a garage. Image: GismoPower

According to Ginsberg-Klemmt, the idea to create a portable solar EV charging carport came from the recognition that her school’s campus had no EV charging stations on the residential side, and as a way to avoid getting in an uncomfortably hot car after a long day of classes.

Because Gismo Power doesn’t have an attached battery system, the appliance must be connected to the grid, so it does not waste the electricity being generated when not charging a vehicle. While on the grid, however, the system acts just like any rooftop solar installation, sending excess generation back to the grid and paying for itself via net metering.

Ginsberg-Klemmt said that the decision not to include a battery at this point in time was decided by a desire to not increase the final price of a Gismo Power unit. She said she sees the unit as a generation solution for renters or members of homeowners associations that are solar averse, as well as people who may want to invest in rooftop solar, but do not have a suitable roof or have one that would need extensive repairs/modifications to host a system.

Antonia Ginsberg-Klemmt

As of now, Ginsberg-Klemmt owns the only Gismo Power prototype, although she is working to construct a more powerful version for New College of Florida. Once that project is complete, Ginsberg-Klemmt plans on beta testing a handful of systems before pursuing any manufacturing or commercial scale. She estimates that the system would cost around $20,000, but that may not be reflective of the final price after beta testing.

Ginsberg-Klemmt is also pursuing OSHA & UL certification and generic permitting for the first grid-tied electrical appliance to generate electricity. This process includes improvements to electric code compliance and usability improvements. Once those benchmarks have been achieved and commercial scaling becomes a reality, Ginsberg-Klemmt plans to produce a “startup series” of 10-100 units, while also starting the “Gismo Power Factory,” a manufacturing facility.

And if Ginsberg-Klemmt’s name rings a bell, you may remember her father who took Florida Power and Light to the state Supreme Court over the denial of a petition to improve the net-metering regulations in the Sunshine State.

Taking a page from her father’s book, Ginsberg-Klemmt said that Gismo Power gives potential customers the opportunity to avoid the permitting and approval process that can bog down residential solar installation times.

Author: Tim Sylvia

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