HTSA Unveils Solar-Powered Home Theater

By Alan Wolf On May 4 2009 - 6:00am

One of the fruits of the Home Theater of America's (HTSA's) annual spring meeting last month was a solar-powered home-theater system, described by the buying group an industry first.

The Guiltless Green Home Theater was developed by HTSA dealer HiFi House in partnership with LG Energy Solutions, and was shared with the group's membership during its “Assiduous Assimilation” gathering here at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass. (See story p. 1.)

The first installation, in a showcase spec home in the Philadelphia suburb of Newtown Square, Pa., is powered by four Sharp solar panels that can provide up to 22,000 watts per week, equivalent to 19 hours of viewing time.

The off-the-grid home theater also features a Sharp XV-Z15000 front projector, a 100-inch Stewart film screen, six Speakercraft in-wall speakers plus subwoofer, an Integra A/V receiver, a Sharp Aquos Blu-ray player, controls by Universal Remote Control, cables and power center by Monster Cable and furniture from Salamander.

“It's time we address the energy use of the systems we install, because their environmental impact and expense are not trivial,” said HTSA executive director Richard Glikes. “When people see this project, they'll learn that a solar home theater isn't something out of science fiction. It's a practical solution we can install today and one that ultimately pays for itself.”

Glikes got the idea for the self-powered system after reading an article about solar-powered water heaters. Thanks to the help of HTSA's vendor partners, the time from conception to the completion of the project and a “how-to” video was five weeks. (The video, available on YouTube by searching “Guiltless Green Home Theater,” received 14,000 hits in six days.)

“There's no downside,” Glikes explained. “It's good for the environment, there are state and federal tax credits, utilities will buy back power, and upscale customers will feel less guilty about spending money on a home theater that uses renewable energy.”

To help them replicate the project, every HTSA member has a “how-to” guide replete with lists of components, resources, distributors and a link to a state-by-state rundown of tax credits. Dealers can either install the solar panels themselves or form a relationship with a solar installer.

“Installing the panels is easier than hanging a flat-panel TV,” Glikes said. “The skills are not that different from those of our members — carpentry and electrical.”

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