ARVADA – Local inventor John Tandler’s solar spa cover won the “Best Green Product” award at the annual spa industry showcase in Florida this month for its simple, new, and self-contained design.
A hot tub cover with built-in solar panels, the SunCatcher slashes energy use in hot tubs and replaces fossil fuels with clean energy in climates from Massachusetts to Hawaii.
The Aztech SunCatcher is the first product to provide standalone clean power to replace half or more of a spa’s electricity use, making spas more affordable to use and environmentally friendly at the same time. A built-in lattice in the cover absorbs the sun’s heat and transfers it to the water.
For the millions of spa owners who replace covers every few years, the SunCatcher provides electricity bill savings from day one, saving $500 to $1000 over the first five years. “A lot of people don’t even consider buying a spa because of the energy costs,” said president John Tandler. “What could add more the pleasure of sinking into a hot tub than knowing it’s heated by clean, healthy energy?”
The spa industry, which doesn’t have much of a green reputation so far, has responded enthusiastically to the SunCatcher; manufacturers and retailers have expressed interest in embedding the technology into their product lines, according to business development director Laura Levesque-Catalano, a 20-year veteran of the tech industry.
This invention was developed by Tandler as a side project of experimenting with plastics in solar thermal products. Tandler, an MIT graduate who holds eight patents, was sitting in his own hot tub when the idea occurred to him. A small fan secured inside the cover keeps the hot air moving, and a small PV panel powers a thermostat and indicator lights.
Previously, the only option for heating a spa with clean energy required about $2,000 in extra rooftop solar panels; the SunCatcher, by contrast, costs a few hundred more than a standard spa cover.
Dollar for dollar, the SunCatcher is a more economically and environmentally impactful investment than air conditioner replacements, attic insulation, or new windows. They are custom fit and come in several colors. Currently available in Colorado through Wind River Spas, the SunCatcher will be available nationally in 2018.
“There are so many benefits to spa ownership, from health therapies to increased family time,” said Tandler. “This product makes the spa more affordable and accessible to a greater customer base, saving $500 to $1000 over five years. Clean energy makes hot tubs cheaper to operate.”
About Aztech Energy
Aztech Energy was founded in 2016 to bring practical cost-saving solar solutions to market. Aztech has five US patents pending in technologies as diverse as solar thermal energy, radiant heating and cooling of buildings, thermal energy storage, and solar heating of hot tubs.