Energizer PowerKeep's Wanderer backpacks have flexible solar panels attached.

Longmont solar-tech company partners with Energizer

LONGMONT — PowerKeep, a maker of solar technology founded in 2015, has partnered with Energizer to produce a line of ultra-rugged solar panels to power anything from mobile devices to the lights in a home.

The Longmont-based company is starting with four products available now, with more expected to come in the first quarter of 2018.

PowerKeep started when CEO Kevin Magenis couldn’t find a solar-powered product that worked for him. He was looking for something portable, durable and able to easily use to provide power in remote or backcountry situations.

The result was combining specially designed solar panels with batteries, which led to a natural partnership with Energizer.

“We felt like we needed to bring our products to market and needed a name brand,” Magenis told BizWest. “The retail market is tough to break out in without spending a ton of money to build a brand. Google is the largest brand in the world and it took them 20 years to get there. Our opinion is to get the right kind of interest online or in retail stores, we had to bring something to the brand. Energizer was a natural brand for us; every one of our products has a battery and Energizer is the largest flashlight company in the world. It was a natural extension.”

Magenis said while there are other portable solar-power devices, there are two factors that set Energizer PowerKeep apart. One is that products are designed with the right-size battery combined with the panels, rather than the consumer having to buy them separately and marry them together. This makes the two better integrated and ultimately a better singular product. The other benefit, Magenis said, comes from the panels themselves.

Energizer PowerKeep panels are bendable. In fact, they can be folded into 90-degree angles, dropped or dipped into water without breaking.

“If you step on a traditional solar panel, they’ll break,” Magenis said. “You can’t flex those panels. If you look at reviews on a number of products using traditional solar panels, they stop working because of microfractures. That’s the biggest difference with our products.”

Initially, Energizer PowerKeep has four products they’re releasing: a 10-watt solar panel that can be folded up to a 5 inch by 5 inch square and charge a cell phone multiple times, a system that can recharge AA or AAA batteries for items like flashlights, and two backpacks with solar panels attached — one for outdoor recreation and one for business commuters.

Products are made locally. The solar panels come from a Denver company and items are assembled in Loveland.

In the future, Energizer PowerKeep is looking to go bigger, releasing products that can charge items like lighting for a house or even running a TV or pump, making them ideal for emergency situations.

“I think what we have is unique,” Magenis said. “You can’t buy a product that has a panel that is ultra rugged, along with having a battery and the ability to plug in alternating current, a USB 5 volt or 12-volt item.”

Magenis said his company is poised to market to first responders and emergency relief organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross. But he added that what his company is doing is perfect for day-to-day activities.

“…even the smaller ones (products), can run LED lights for long periods of time, through the night,” he said. “There are 2.5 billion people in the world who don’t have lights at night. We want to get these into lots of people’s hands who don’t otherwise have this ability. Once you get it and own it, it’s self-sustaining. You can use it for a year and have it not cost you any money.”

 

LONGMONT — PowerKeep, a maker of solar technology founded in 2015, has partnered with Energizer to produce a line of ultra-rugged solar panels to power anything from mobile devices to the lights in a home.

The Longmont-based company is starting with four products available now, with more expected to come in the first quarter of 2018.

PowerKeep started when CEO Kevin Magenis couldn’t find a solar-powered product that worked for him. He was looking for something portable, durable and able to easily use to provide power in remote or backcountry situations.

The result was combining specially designed solar panels with batteries, which led to a natural partnership with Energizer.

“We felt like we needed to bring our products to market and needed a name brand,” Magenis told BizWest. “The retail market is tough to break out in without spending a ton of money to build a brand. Google is the largest brand in the world and it took them 20 years to get there. Our opinion is to get the right kind of interest online or in retail stores, we had to bring something to the brand. Energizer was a natural brand for us; every one of our products has a battery and Energizer is the largest flashlight company in the world. It was a natural extension.”

Magenis said while there are other portable solar-power devices, there are two factors that set Energizer PowerKeep apart. One is that products are designed with the right-size battery combined with the panels, rather than the…