2022 Grants Challenge

Smart Pods - Greener & Cleaner Disaster Response

Idea by SolarFi

SolarFi's Bliss product is an energy-autonomous, mobile, and flexibly designed solar pod surrounded by solar panels incorporated with internet connectivity. We aim to strengthen emergency response efforts and provide relief to affected people by using pods to provide phone charging, internet, and information access, and help distribute needed supplies. Bliss is cost-effective, highly durable, low-maintenance, and portable, making it a must-have replacement for portable gas generators in disaster response.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Climate and Environment

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

The county of Los Angeles tops FEMA’s list of riskiest counties in America for natural disasters. Emergency preparations and disaster response should be a priority for LA county. About 10.04 million residents of Los Angeles are vulnerable to these disasters, which disrupt the lives of many people. Not only do disasters put lives at risk, but they eliminate access to essential utilities and disrupt communication networks. The emergency response team also faces the challenge of inter-organizational communications and distribution of essentials and medical aid. Power outages are common, and electricity is not readily available for charging their devices. No internet connectivity is open to people, making it difficult for responders to share important information with those that need it. These problems make it difficult for emergency response teams to tackle the situation and restore normalcy to the affected areas. The only current solution involves the use of unclean gas generators.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

SolarFi Ventures, Inc. has a solution to this problem. SolarFi Bliss is an energy-autonomous, mobile, and flexibly designed solar pod surrounded by solar panels. In the time-sensitive work of emergency response, Bliss delivers a solution to the problem of rapidly re-establishing internet connection and energy generation. In wildfire response, the threat and danger areas are constantly changing as the fires spread, but Bliss can move with the response team. Bliss is energy-autonomous and provides internet connectivity. It has power independence through solar power generation can generate energy from 3.3 kW to 8 kW of power, more than an average single-family home requires per day. Bliss is self-sufficient, as solar power is stored in powerful and long-lasting batteries with the autonomy of up to ten hours. Bliss is an incredibly mobile and portable unit that is easy to transport, set up, and operate. It may be placed virtually anywhere, as long as there is sun and sufficient space. Bliss measures 8’x8’x8’ but is customizable. Bliss is environmentally friendly, producing no carbon emissions in use and eliminating the need for portable gas generators. Bliss has longevity and can overcome fuel challenges as it does not exhaust its energy source over time. Bliss could save millions of dollars in spending on nonrenewable energy power generators. Bliss eliminates the need for the recurring expense of fuel, only requiring a one-time investment and small recurring maintenance costs.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

With the successful implementation of our project, LA county will be ready for any disaster. Bliss is capable of providing power supply during disasters and any situation. In times of crisis, people face problems related to the lack of availability of utility services. Utility companies can rent our pod to supplement their lack of energy. Our product can significantly help the LA emergency response teams. LA already suffers from many disasters and needs a team equipped with advanced technology that helps solve the problem without contributing to climate change and future natural disasters. We plan to partner with local utilities and emergency/disaster response agencies across LA county. With our product, we not only give aid to people affected but also rapid access to the internet, helping them connect with loved ones in their time of need.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

This is an expansion of an existing effort we have been advancing in other areas of the US. We previously constructed pods for Alabama Power and are working on early-stage projects in New Orleans with government and response agencies. We are shifting focus to LA following our selection into the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI). SolarFi is supported by a talented team with experience in emergency response, business, and clean technology, preparing us to conduct this work. As we develop our partnerships in LA county with utilities, agencies, and local government, we will work closely with them to evaluate product performance. Through the cloud infrastructure provided in each pod, SolarFi plans to track the individuals served when each pod is deployed, collecting more information if necessary for the response efforts. This, combined with data regarding energy generation, the number of pods deployed and partner/community feedback will be used to evaluate the success of the project.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 1,000

Indirect Impact: 100,000