AMA I am the founder of House of Mohist. We are currently running a Kickstarter campaign for the Solar basket: Universal Solar Upgrade. Everything you need for a solar powered home, yet compact enough to fit inside a bike basket

Bingxie Zhang
Feb 4, 2018

We stand at a pivotal point in our history. The cost of renewable energy has fallen below that of traditional energy. Affordable, renewable energy is becoming accessible around the world, and solar-powered consumer electronics and transport systems are increasingly a part of that. House of Mohist, an open-source hardware company, is developing products that help you upgrade your home, bike, and electronics to solar power. More importantly, clean energy transportation, power/energy solution for people in the developing world who lack the basic infrastructures like electricity and affordable public transportation.

Kickstarter Page

Project Video

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Have you used socialmedia to market your product? If yes, can you share your social media pages and links?

Feb 9, 1:07PM EST0

You can follow us on twitter or facebook @House_Of_Mohist 

www.facebook.com/MohistMaster/

Feb 9, 1:13PM EST0

Have similar projects been done in the past, installing solar panels on bicycles? Or is yours the first that you know of?

Feb 9, 7:51AM EST0

There are several solar bike projects, even few commercial one. Mine is the simplest to install.

Feb 9, 10:02AM EST0

Once the solar panel is charged, how long can it hold the charge for? Can it store power for long periods of time?

Feb 9, 7:16AM EST0

The solar panel charges the battery. The lithium battery on the bike would hold the charge for 3 months. 

Feb 9, 9:56AM EST0

Do you yourself use this product on a day to day basis?

Feb 6, 2:50PM EST0

I tried to use the bike as much as I can if the weather is good. 

Last edited @ Feb 6, 6:39PM EST.
Feb 6, 6:39PM EST0

What were you doing when you got the idea/inspiration for the Solar Basket?

Feb 6, 1:55PM EST0

I was at a meeting of our maker's club discussing what we would do for earth day.

Feb 6, 6:38PM EST0

You mentioned that this could be a clean energy solution for devloping world countries. Are there any particular countries that you are targetting?

Feb 6, 1:46PM EST0

The most likely countries that are underdeveloped and get a lot of sun.  For example sub-Saharan Africa countries and Haiti.

Feb 6, 6:37PM EST0

Do you think people, in general, still lack knowledge about the solar power and its benefits to the society?

Feb 6, 8:15AM EST0

Like everything in life, people understand what is right in front of them and what is immediately useful to them.  In this information age, information oversaturation is the biggest problem to pass knowledge such as solar power technology and its benefits. If I got 2 minutes in front of people, I can convince most people that solar is a great technology and will benefit everyone. But that is just bystander view like the way they looking at the news channels. not something they want to take it home right away.

Feb 6, 8:49AM EST1

Is this your first project for renewable energy products? If not, what other projects have you done?

Feb 6, 8:07AM EST0

I have designed mechanical systems that incorporated wind and solar energy generation for buildings.  The solar basket is the first commercial product I designed. 

Feb 6, 9:04AM EST0

Can the solar basket be adopted for other vehicles apart from bicycles? What about motorbikes or cars?

Feb 6, 6:59AM EST0

If you want to apply solar panel to other vehicles, might I suggest to take a look at our solar adventure pack?   It is a foldable, weavable and expandable that might be what you needed. For a faster vehicle like motorcycle or cars, air dynamic is a big factor in the design. That means the design would need to tailor fit to every specific configuration of the vehicle.

Feb 6, 9:01AM EST0

Do the Flexible Solar Panels have a negative or positive power tolerance?

Feb 5, 3:37AM EST0

Flexible Panel use same power cell as the rigid panel, they would have the same power tolerance if they use the same power cell. 

Feb 6, 9:07AM EST0

What happens if the system does not produce as much power as was promised? Do you offer a performance guarantee?

Feb 5, 3:13AM EST0

All solar panels are rated at the optimum conditions inside a test facility. There are various real-life conditions that would affect the performance of a solar panel.  It is very hard for a manufacturer or a distributor to offer a performance guarantee besides under the ideal condition that is repeatable and testable.  Only the local solar designer and installer can optimize the performance of a solar installation.

Feb 6, 8:55AM EST0

Why is renewable energy vital to the society? Can you please put some light on its benefits and prospective outcome?

Feb 4, 6:42PM EST0

Renewable energy means it is sustainable. Also, decentralized power generator means communities that were left out under current grid infrastructure might get a new chance to join the rest of world in the information age. 

Feb 5, 12:35AM EST0

What sort of performance should one expect from this system? What kind of after-sales care do you offer?

Feb 4, 2:11PM EST0

The panels are Sunpower panel with 22% efficiency. The product will be covered by 90-day warranty.

Feb 5, 12:32AM EST0

Can you provide with customer reviews & testimonials, or examples of your other installations based on solar power?

Feb 4, 11:44AM EST0

There are only beta testers, the products perform as expected.

Feb 5, 12:36AM EST0

Could you share some of the failures during the process of developing this system and the lessons you have learned out of the that experience?

Feb 4, 11:17AM EST0

I will be honest, the Kickstarter campaign and the marketing so far would be a failure. What I learned that there is a lot more work before the launch that I did not do.

Feb 4, 11:25AM EST0

After Solar Power Basket, what do you plan to work on? Could you share some hints for your next project in line?

Feb 4, 5:13AM EST0

I probably follow the line of solar, transportation product development. 

My other open sourced project

Last edited @ Feb 4, 10:24AM EST.
Feb 4, 7:47AM EST0
Show all 3 replies

According to you which is the cheaper option for individual customers: renewable energy or traditional electricity?

Feb 4, 2:07AM EST0

There are far better sources than me that provide strong data to support that renewable energy is cheaper than traditional energy since 2016. 

Wiki

NYTimes

Energysage.com

Last edited @ Feb 4, 8:25AM EST.
Feb 4, 7:45AM EST0

How much do these systems cost and how much money can one save by using this solar basket system?

Feb 4, 12:00AM EST0

Solar Bike Upgrade Kit: $349 + Shipping

Adventure Pack: 369+Shipping

Home Generator Package: 399+ Shipping

If you only base on electricity the panel would generate, the rate of return would be around 15 years. But if you have no access to the electric grid, have to rely on fossil fuel for electricity, the rate of return is about 2 months since there is no fuel cost. There is no price on million people who can pull themselves out of poverty by gaining access to electricity, modern information network and all the opportunities that would open up to them.

Last edited @ Feb 4, 12:25AM EST.
Feb 4, 12:21AM EST0

What do the terms Grid-connected, Grid-tied, On-grid and off-grid means?

Feb 3, 4:58PM EST0

The grid is the long line of power cables that pass the electricity from the generator to transformer station to every household outlets. These power cables criss-cross each other at switch station to form the electric grid. A grid-tied electrical system also called tied to grid or grid tie system, is a semi-autonomous electrical generation or grid energy storage system which links to the mains to feed excess capacity back to the local mains electrical grid. Off-grid means you have an independent electric system that is not physically connected to the electric grid.

Last edited @ Feb 4, 1:53AM EST.
Feb 3, 11:24PM EST0

How long have you been working on this project and are you satisfied with the outcome?

Feb 3, 3:55PM EST0

The project started as 2017 earth day demonstration project. I want to keep it as the DIY, middle school class project level. I have made the instruction to make a solar bike open sourced on Instructables. I would encourage anyone copy and improve on the design. To the degree, I am satisfied.

Feb 3, 11:33PM EST0
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