California, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] For the first time, U.S. homeowners can buy solar panels off the shelves from a major retailer. Akeena Solar Inc. last week announced that its Andalay AC panels are available at 21 Lowe’s Home Improvement stores in the state of California. The panels, which were recently honored with a 2009 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Product award, are featured as part of Lowe’s Energy Center at the stores.
The Andalay AC system is fully integrated with built-in racking, grounding, wiring and micro-inverters. Andalay panels also have built-in inverters that produce household AC power, so there is no high-voltage DC wiring.
Andalay AC systems use Suntech panels and Enphase micro-inverters. Andalay modules are UL listed and CSA certified. Akeena said that Andalay AC panels produce 5 to 25 percent more energy output compared with ordinary DC solar panels.
“The PC revolution in the computer industry occurred when new technology made PCs easy to use and affordable. We transitioned away from big mainframe computers to PCs in every home. Likewise, with panels becoming plug-and-play appliances, the solar revolution has started. Having panels on the shelf at Lowe’s is a giant step in making solar mainstream and moving our nation toward getting solar on every sunny rooftop,” said Barry Cinnamon, Akeena’s CEO. “Buying panels off the shelf at Lowe’s offers solar options to homeowners that they didn’t have,” continued Cinnamon. “Homeowners now can get a system as small as one panel. With Andalay’s safe household AC power design, they are the only real choice for do-it-yourselfers.”
Lowe’s will stock the accessories required for installation, eliminating the need for do-it-yourselfers and contractors to pre-order components and enabling them to pick up what they need on the way to the installation.
Lowe’s is the first major retailer to offer many of these products in one place, products that range from power monitors and small solar chargers to a solar panel system. The Energy Center will be in additional U.S. and Canadian stores in 2010.
To hear more from Cinnamon about the plug-and-play solar concept and what can be done to increase adoption of these types of systems, watch the video below.