For your convenience, our most common customer questions are answered right here. Not finding what you want? Reach out directly through our Contact Us page or give us a call at (626) 436- 3749
1What is the JouleBox® Hybrid Solar Generator?
The JouleBox® uses multiple technologies to produce electricity clean, green 24/7/365. These include, solar panels to charge the batteries, manufactured wind, lithium ion battery bricks, ultra-efficient switch reluctance motors that use much less energy than any conventional motor, DC generators to charge the batteries and AC generators to produce usable electricity. There is no carbon fuel source. There is no other technology that is similar to the JouleBox®
2Is the JouleBox® certified?
Yes, the JouleBox® has UL, CE and CSA certifications. Application for SABS is pending.
3How does the JouleBox® start up?
The lithium ion batteries come fully charged and have more than enough energy to start the blower. When the blower is started, the DC generator is connected to the rear end of the blower motor and starts to produce energy immediately to keep the batteries charged. Once the unit is up to speed with the blower motor, the speed control motors are engaged. After all are turned on the unit is synchronized with any other units and is put under load.
4Does the JouleBox® shut down when not in use?
The JouleBox® is NOT meant to be a back-up generator that is turned on and off. The unit is designed to run 24/7 and is only turned off once per year to change the oil in the gearbox which should take approx. 15 minutes. The other units do not have to be turned off during this process. The JouleBox® operates best and most efficiently under FULL LOAD. It is best to feed excess generation into a grid or to use it with a resistive load bank rather than decrease the load. We actually use more energy under low or no load because there is less Back EMF to recycle into the batteries. The ideal operation is under full load at all times feeding the energy into the grid or acting as a baseload.
5How does the JouleBox® store the produced energy?
The JouleBox® is not a storage devise. The energy that is produced, 60 kW every hour of the day (525,600 kWh annually), is meant to be used or fed into the grid where it can be used elsewhere. For off-grid installations the power will need to be used, stored in additional batteries or dissipated.
6Is any excess power from the lithium ion battery bricks sent into the grid?
No. The lithium ion battery bricks are DC power that is only used to run the DC motors in the JouleBox®. There is no stored power with the JouleBox® that is ever sent into the grid. We can take excess DC power that is produced in certain geographic areas from the solar panels and the DC generator and run it through an inverter where it can be used to feed into the grid or used within the facility for local needs.
7What is the purpose of the PowerQ™?
The power from the 60 kW AC generator is fed into the PowerQ™ prior to being fed into the grid. The PowerQ™ is a power quality box with capacitors to clean up the quality of the electricity. We bring the Power Factor up to approx. 0.99 and the Total Harmonic Differential (THD) to <5%. The PowerQ™ also allows us to control the Phasor Sequence. We can set Maximum and Minimum monitoring by exception on over 40 items of the electricity quality and performance of the JouleBox®. Each JouleBox® has its own separate IP address. Because of the PowerQ™ we can deliver the highest quality power and monitor the unit(s) from anywhere in the world.
8How long will the JouleBox® run if there is not any sunlight?
The JouleBox® is designed to run continuously and only turned off once per year for scheduled maintenance, regardless if there is any sunlight for the solar panels. For the 60 kW JouleBox® unit, the 30 kW DC generator provides enough power to continuously run the DC Blower Motor and the 2 DC Speed Control Motors. The solar panels provide a margin of safety for lots of extra power to the batteries if the units were to be operated for extended periods of time (weeks) under minimal load (less efficiency). With our motors we want to always stay in the upper levels of the BH Curve. The 3 – 40 HP motors use <200 watts per horsepower or <24 kW total for all 3. The DC generator is constantly producing 30 kW.
9You are violating the Laws of Thermodynamics and the Conservation of Energy.
No we do not violate either law but actually use those laws to our favor. We are not a closed system so the laws do not apply. According to the Conservation of Energy, “energy cannot be created or destroyed”. We reuse the energy that is usually destroyed in the form of heat loss. The manufacturing of electricity is not the same as energy. Additionally, because of rotational energy we use much less energy to manufacture the electricity than if the system was used to turn on and off.
10Is the 60 kW JouleBox® the largest you make (can you make larger; can you make smaller)?
The 60 kW is ideal for most utility scale purposes because it is scalable. Multiple JouleBoxes® can be synchronized together and fed into the grid. Our system solution for connecting the units together was designed by our associate that is a Senior Member, IEEE
- IEEE Power Systems Relaying Committee (PSRC), Main Committee
- IEEE PSRC Rotating Machinery Protection Subcommittee, Chair Emeritus
- IEEE PSRC Rotating Machinery Protection Subcommittee, Committee Member
- He literally wrote the rules on how to connect to the grid.
11How is the JouleBox® used in a Utility scale installation?
The ideal use for the JouleBox® is to install them in a prefab building, double stacked in rows. This facility should be located adjacent to sub-station where the power will be delivered. There is a cat walk in the racking for easy access to the 2nd floor rows. This is true in Distributed Generation. Since we are delivering the power where it will be consumed we do not need high voltage (>100kV) transformers. We can deliver at any medium voltage desired by the off-taker (<70 kV). Excess generation beyond the needs of the stub-station can be distributed throughout the grid but it is best to size the installation to the sub-station needs. There is almost always surplus land next to a substation or under the transmission lines that come into a sub-station. The space needed is minimal EXAMPLE: 3 MW facility = <9,000 sq. ft./840 m2; 50 MW facility = <150,000 sq. ft./14,000 m2; multiple 50 MW facilities can be installed side by side. Less space could be considered with triple stacking rather than double stacking depending on local building codes. To avoid the need for >3,000 amp breakers we combine every 12 JouleBoxes® (480 V /60,000 watts = 125 Amps). These units are synched together and locked down. We run this power through a medium voltage (typically 11 kV) and take it to our electrical room in the facility where it is combined with other MV clusters and fed into the sub-station/grid. There are some technical questions as to what the off-taker wants concerning the operation of the facility during power outages in the grid. During outages, we can operate under an baseline mode, islanding mode, grid disconnect or shut down. It is best if we do not shut down as it would take time to manually restart all units. All are possibilities that can be engineered into each facility.
12Can a JouleBox® non-utility scale facility be operated off-grid?
Yes. If there are multiple JouleBoxes® then at least one needs to be designated a ‘baseline’ unit and the other units synched to the baseline unit. Single units will need to address load leveling, potential storage or dissipation of excess generation with load banks. The ideal situation is to always feed excess generation into a grid via net metering.
13How sure are you that the JouleBoxes® can withstand the rigors of continuous operation? What is the Warranty and Guarantee?
Manufacturer’s Warranty and Guarantee is 10 years’ parts and labor. Certain terms and conditions apply. The component parts are rated for continuous use. The batteries are rated for 20.9 years. The generators are field tested for or 50 years of continuous operation. The switch reluctance motors, while unique to our design, are the most durable type of motor ever built. The stator and rotor are 10” thick electrical steel. While bearings and bushings can wear out on every motor or generator, this wear and tear typically takes place during starts and stops. These are low cost, readily available items and can be replaced simply and quickly. Additionally, there is usually a long time to schedule maintenance when a bearing starts to go bad. For PPAs of 20 years or longer we can provide extended coverage with a service contract.
14Do you do Utility Scale Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)
JouleBox Power® is not a developer of utility scale PPAs, but does work closely with Developers and will participate as a minority co-Developer.
15What size PPA installation will you do?
JouleBox Power® will enter into an MOU with an off-taker for the total estimated installation based upon sub-station needs, however, our lenders will only allow us to install an initial pilot project from 1-3 MW until the off-taker has proven reliable payment capabilities. For non-rated or low rated credit off-takers our lenders may require annual prepayment or other guarantees. Also since we only use local contractors we would never consider doing a large project prior to having the local contractor vetted through the pilot project installation. After the pilot project we can deliver multiple facilities simultaneously.
16How long does it take to install a utility scale facility?
- 16 weeks to build the JouleBoxes® (whether 50 or 500).
- During the same 16 weeks the building and racking will be built.
- 4-6 weeks for shipping
- 4 weeks for final hookup
17Who will do the installations?
A certified and licensed contractor in your local area will do the installation accordingly to our specifications.