Just about every home has an electrical panel–it's the metal box in your basement that you have to fiddle with every time you overload a surge protector, or your lights aren't working for some weird reason. Span is a company looking to modernize this ancient but essential technology with their Smart Panel and provide you with a reimagined electrical panel that includes smart controls and electricity usage monitoring. Span announced a new Smart Panel in May 2021, and this new model offers upgrades and cost savings compared to their previous model. Whether you're looking to install solar, storage, or fully electrify your home, the Span Smart Panel could be a good investment.
The Span Smart Panel is a smart electrical panel that serves as an energy management system for your home.
Energy management systems provide homeowners with monitoring and control of their energy usage.
The Smart Panel has 32 controllable circuits per panel, accepts standard 1-in residential breakers, and has a 100A – 200A main breaker with a 225A bus.
Span's new Smart Panel is more affordable, easier to install, and has a sleeker design than the previous model.
If you're looking for solar or solar-plus-storage options, make sure to check out the EnergySage Marketplace.
Span's Smart Panel is a modern take on the electrical panel that provides smart controls and insights into your home electricity usage. The Smart Panel is to electrical panels as smartphones are to cell phones: it's an updated version of an established and essential product. The result? A more intelligent and useful window into your home electricity usage.
The panel itself is a white rectangular box that replaces your current electrical panel. All of your home circuits get wired into the Span panel, which you can then individually control and program using their mobile app.
At its core, the Smart Panel is an electrical panel, and the technical specifications are important. The Smart Panel has 32 controllable circuits per panel, and you can install multiple panels for even more individual circuit controls. The panel accepts standard 1-in residential breakers and has a 100A – 200A main breaker with a 225A bus.
Additionally, the Span panel comes with Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, and 4G/LTE internet connectivity, so you can monitor and control your electricity from anywhere you can get online. You can mount the panel either indoors or outdoors as well.
Span designed their new Smart Panel to be easier to install, more affordable, and more aesthetically pleasing than familiar, utilitarian old-school panels, allowing you greater flexibility for where you install it. You can mount it either outside or inside your house–and with its sleek design, you may even want to show it off. Below, we've provided the major differences between Span's original Smart Panel and their new Smart Panel.
ORIGINAL SPAN PANEL
NEW SMART PANEL
|Depth from wall||3.5 inches||<1 inch|
|Carrying capacity of individual circuits||70 amps||90 amps|
In addition to paying less for a new Smart Panel with its lower MSRP–note, you'll still have to pay for installation costs on top of this price–you'll also get a panel that takes up less space in your home while supporting higher loads for each circuit.
For many of us, paying $3,500 plus installation costs is still quite a lot of money! So how can energy management systems like Span's new Smart Panel be cost-effective for you? There are a few different scenarios to consider when you're deciding if an energy management system is suitable for you, which you can learn more about in this article. For now, we'll cover some of the basics by comparing energy management systems to other home upgrades.
Energy management system vs. new electrical panel
If you're planning to install solar panels or electrify your whole home, you may already need to upgrade your electrical panel. Most people, especially those with newer homes, won't need to upgrade their electrical panels for solar panels alone. Still, if you're planning to electrify everything and add EVs, your current panel might be unable to support your new electrical load.
If you're just looking to add solar, you'll need a 200 amp panel, and a replacement will likely cost you anywhere between $1,000 to $3,000. Paying a premium for an electrical panel that also allows for monitoring and controls could be a worthwhile investment. By installing an energy management system before you go solar, you can often cut down on installation and design costs. You'll be able to track your exact energy consumption over time, enabling you to easily size your solar panel system without sifting through old electric bills.
Energy management system vs. only storage
Energy management systems are an attractive option if you're looking to install a solar battery. In most cases, if you're installing a battery, you'll need to install a critical load panel–essentially a secondary electrical panel that protects your appliances and battery from unintended electrical failures while ensuring that your most important appliances and devices remain powered via your solar battery. With Span's Smart Panel, you won't have to install a separate critical load panel, and you'll have more control over what your battery is powering. You'll be able to control how you use your battery and remotely decide which circuits you turn on and off, giving you real-time flexibility.
Span's Smart Panel is a replacement for your existing electrical panel that controls the flow of electricity to all of your home's circuits. You can think of it as an electrical systems upgrade–it does everything your current electrical panel does and adds several layers of smart energy management technology.
There are three main areas the Span Smart Panel excels in: energy usage monitoring and control, optimizing a home battery backup, and integrating clean energy upgrades.
Energy usage monitoring and control
Using Span's mobile app, you can see what's using energy in your home at any given time. It gives you real-time control to turn circuits on and off, from lighting and appliances to your air conditioning or heating systems. The Smart Panel has 32 controllable circuits per panel, so you can have as granular a view into your electricity as you want.
Span's app also runs performance analytics on your home to give you actionable insights about your energy usage. You might learn that you're using tons of electricity with an appliance you barely use, and turning it off will save you money over the course of a month.
Span estimates that the added control you get from their Smart Panel translates to about 40% longer backup than battery-only systems–this means you'll need to purchase less battery capacity to provide the same amount of resiliency, which could save you money.
Home battery optimization
Span's product is powerful enough to replace your electric panel, but some of its best features and benefits come out when you pair it with a home battery system. Specifically, Span helps you understand how much charge your battery has left and intelligently manages electricity during a power outage protection.
Understanding how much charge your battery has left: This one is pretty straightforward. Once you install a Smart Panel, you can see exactly how much longer you can run your appliances on the charge left in your home battery, not just what percentage of the battery remains. During a multi-day outage, this helps you understand whether a solar-powered battery can power your home until the sun comes up the next day. Want to squeeze a little extra run time out of your battery? Use Span's remote controls to turn off unnecessary circuits pulling electricity from your battery.
Smart power outage protection: Span is also an excellent tool to protect your home against surprise power outages. When the grid goes down, unless you have a home battery or generator, you're out of luck until your utility can fix the system. Even with a home battery, you probably won't be able to run your whole home for very long before it gets drained. Enter Span: with their automatic load-shedding feature, you can categorize circuits in your home as Must Have, Nice to Have, and Not Essential, so Span will automatically stop sending electricity to those non-essential circuits when the grid goes down. This helps your stored energy last longer, making power outages a lot less scary. As a bonus (mentioned above), Span shows you how much time you can run your appliances on battery power, so you'll know exactly how to plan for an extended outage.
Better integrate clean energy upgrades
A Span Smart Panel is specifically built to help integrate home energy upgrades like storage, solar panels, and electric vehicle charging. We discussed above how Span can show you in detail how much charge your batteries have left and how automatic load shedding protects you against power outages. These tools are essential to Span's ability to help you correctly size a storage system. With granular controls, monitoring, and load-shedding abilities, you can know ahead of time just how much storage capacity you'll need to install to keep your home powered by storage during an outage.
It's also worth pointing out the role Span can play in easing the electrification process in your home. At its core, home electrification entails upgrading your home's appliances and energy sources so that, eventually, everything is powered by clean electricity. You may have a gas stove top, an oil furnace, or a gasoline-powered vehicle. If you electrify your home, it would include upgrades such as an electric stove top, an air-source heat pump, and an electric vehicle (EV)–all hopefully powered by solar panels! Span fits into home electrification by offering an electrical panel with monitoring and control capabilities to give you more insight into and power over your home's electricity. By automatically managing home loads and pausing loads or pulling from your battery when you're using a lot of power, Span can even help you avoid a service upgrade in the future.
The Span Smart Panel is an exciting development in the world of energy management, and it has the power to make home solar panels and storage systems even more powerful as resiliency and money-saving tools. The best way to start moving your energy usage towards clean energy is to compare quotes for solar panel systems, which you can do for free on the EnergySage Marketplace. Our network of pre-screened solar and storage installers will craft customized quotes for your unique property, taking into account your energy usage, location, roof type, personal preferences, and more. Get started today, or try our Solar Calculator for an instant estimate of your solar potential!