If you’re looking to conveniently store energy, whether from the solar panels on your roof or the electric grid, it’s not exactly an easy—or inexpensive—process. You’ll have a lot of technical equipment to deal with, and you’ll need to hire professionals who know how to get everything up and running. Until now, that is.
Orison is the only plug-and-play battery system on the market that can efficiently store energy and intermittently power your home when needed. Combined with its mobile app, this means Orison can maintain power in the event of an outage, optimize your energy consumption, and reduce your power bill. Just plug it into any wall outlet and you’re all set!
Just because the Orison system is beautifully designed, lightweight, and super easy to install, does this necessarily mean you should buy one? You’ve got a lot of questions about Orison, and we’re here to help you find some answers.
First, let’s start with the details about Orison’s system.
How Does Orison Work?
At its most basic, there are only two parts to each Orison system: the battery (storage device) and the smartphone app. Orison offers two different designs for their batteries, each of which use “advanced lithium-ion battery cells that have been specifically designed for safety, long life and affordability”:
- Tower: 34” tall and 9” wide, weighs about 40 pounds. Also features an LED light, Bluetooth speaker, and induction phone charger.
- Panel: 22” H x 28” W and weighs 38 pounds. Also features an LED light, wall mount, and customizable skins.
Orison’s Tower and Panel, each of which is capable of storing 2.2 kWh.
To set up your Orison battery, all you have to do is plug it in wherever you’d like and it’ll immediately go to work. In a nutshell, it works by drawing energy from any power source, whether solar or the grid, and then actively monitoring the electricity use in your home. When needed, it will discharge only the necessary amount of energy while preventing back flow.
What’s more, because your Orison battery will be linked to your smartphone, it’ll be able to optimize these charge/discharge times by communicating wirelessly with the company’s cloud. How? By constantly monitoring:
- Utility Rates & Peak Demand Charges – Orison uses something called Load Shift technology to store electricity when demand (and pricing) is low, and powers your home when rates are high. The system also uses energy arbitrage, peak demand shaving, and participation in demand response programs to help save you even more money. You’ll be able to “see your energy savings, and easily schedule times of charge and discharge” via Orison’s app.
- Weather, Blackouts, & Grid Failure – Orison’s Cloud will provide blackout alerts and is always scanning the grid for early signs of failure. If this occurs, you’ll be immediately notified while it isolates the circuit it’s plugged in to. This way, you can make sure that none of the power it has stored will be sent back to the grid.
This same Cloud also makes the whole energy grid more efficient by offering an easy, constant solution to the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources.
Need more than one battery? The cool thing about Orison is that you can purchase + Panels to scale your system to whatever size is needed. But assuming you just purchased one Orison battery, what kind of power might you expect?
How Much Power Will Orison Provide?
Technically, a kilowatt hour is “a billing unit for energy delivered to consumers by electric utilities” that’s equal to 3.6 megajoules. But in real world terms this doesn’t tell us much, so let’s think about it this way:
According to the Orison FAQ, the average refrigerator will use 1 kWh of energy in one hour of normal use. So, since one Orison battery will store 2.2 kWh of energy, it could feasibly power a refrigerator for two hours if power is lost.
However, keep in mind that Orison will only work on the circuit it’s plugged in to. This means that if you plugged it into an outlet in your living room, which was on a different circuit than the outlet than your fridge, you wouldn’t be able to keep your food cool during an outage unless you relocated the battery.
Speaking of batteries, Orison relies on lithium-ion technology to power each of their systems. In general, these types of batteries are considered the wave of the future, but because of “cycling, elevated temperature and aging … manufacturers take a conservative approach and specify the life of Li-ion in most consumer products between 300 and 500 discharge/charge cycles.”
In theory, this means that if you fully discharged your Orison on a daily basis (an admittedly extreme example, but useful to outline this point), the battery would no longer be viable after about a year.
Considering this, what kind of pricing and warranty can you expect with Orison?
Is Orison a Good Value?
At the time of our research, Orison’s Kickstarter campaign had 43 days remaining, but had already raised well over $100K with on an original goal of $50K.
To fund the campaign, Orison offered several different pledge packages ranging between $1,200 and $10K, with total storage capacity ranging between 2.2 kWh and 13.2 kWh. The first batch is expected to ship August 2016.
Despite what we learned above about lithium-ion batteries, Orison comes with a 10-year, 5,000 lifecycle warranty. According to the company:
“Performance is monitored in real time by the Orison Cloud. The moment a problem is detected with any system, the Orison team is notified. We alert you of the issue, immediately ship a replacement unit to your door, complete with a return package for the defective unit. Your power storage needs will barely miss a beat.”
Given these numbers, let’s take a look and see how much you’ll need to spend to get your money’s worth.
A Quick Orison Cost Breakdown
The Orison website features a nifty return on investment calculator that can be used to gain a better understanding of how much you’ll need to spend. However, the calculator only asks four questions: zip code, average monthly utility bill, if you have solar, and the type of home you live in.
Based on this, I was told I’d need eight units, which would help me save about $34 per month, roughly $400 per year, and $10K over the course of 20 years.
According to Orison’s ROI calculator, I’d need 8 units but would save about $10K over the course of 20 years.
Who wouldn’t want to save 10 grand, right? But let’s quickly put everything into perspective, because we don’t think this calculator necessarily looks at the whole picture.
If I purchased eight panels at $2,000 a pop (towers are $350 more), I’d spend $16K just to get my Orison system up and running. But this would only help me save $10K on my utility bills—and I’d have to wait two decades just to get to that point.
So, while Orison might be easy to set up and help me avoid hiring (and paying) professionals to do it for me, I’d still be operating at about a 40% loss if I went with an Orison system.
Bottom Line: Is An Orison Energy System Right For You?
It’s clear that Orison’s founders Eric Clifton and John Kohut are on to something here. Several pledge packages are already sold out on their Kickstarter campaign, and many others packages are in short supply. On top of this, the company’s received a ton of media attention from the likes of Clean Technica, Gizmag, Digital Trends, and many others.
But is one of their systems right for you? Ultimately, this is only something you can answer. Are you typically an early adopter for new tech, and are much more interested in the possibilities Orison could open up instead of its return on investment? Then it might be right up your alley.
On the other hand, are you expecting to set up an Orison system and immediately make a big dent in your utility bills? In this instance, you might not be fully satisfied.
Which camp did you fall into? How did Orison perform and did it meet your expectations? Tell us about it in your very own review below!