For those of you in the Northeast worried about having a back-up generator to keep your sump pump going when all this snow starts to melt in the spring and your power goes out just because ..... Part of this week's GE EcoImagination launch is a new home back-up generator from Clarian Power, the same company that is working on plug-and-play solar generation technology due in spring 2011 for residential usage.
The technology, called SmartBox Backup, is described as a back-up energy storage device, one that sits underneath your dryer (like in the photo). SmartBox Backup charges up while it is plugged in to your dryer outlet. If the power goes out, it will provide you with the ability to run essential household appliances (or the aforementioned sump pump). At least one of the configurations is supposed to provide up to eight hours of backup, according to the product details on the Web site.
Given the dryer connection, you can see why GE is touting this device. Imagine if every time someone bought a dryer, it also bought one of these things to stick underneath. It is supposed to be easy to install, but it also sounds like you'll need an electrician to step in and get things started.
This thing is still under development, but my contact at Clarian Power tells me that a model of SmartBox Backup designed to provide up to two hours of back-up power will be available for under $1,000. No information on the timing of the release.
This video runs you through the mechanics of how the technology works: