Do-It-Yourself Solar

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted September 26, 2011

The price of solar panels has been plummeting in recent months as tensions in Europe hurt the once-lively German market and more competition weeds out the less fortunate companies.

But one California-based company has grabbed this opportunity and used it to their advantage.

Westinghouse Solar Inc (NASDAQ: WEST) has done what can only be done with cheap solar panels.

They have created the all-in-one, do-it-yourself solar kit.

These AC all-in-one kits contain, as Market Watch reports, “AC panels with integrated racking and inverters, roof brackets with fasteners, roof flashings, and panel splices”.

They come with everything but the wiring.  The company recommends hiring a licensed electrician for this part, as they told Market Watch.

The solar kits are well suited for contractors or even the handy homeowner, and they come in a variety of sizes.

The full kit includes 20 panels.  This kit, Market Watch reports, will provide around 70% of the home’s energy needs.  The next size down is the four-panel “starter kit”.  The smallest is what Market Watch calls the “try it” kit, with just one panel for the curious customer.

The kits were market tested for two years in conjunction with Lowe’s Home Improvement (NYSE: LOW), the article states, and they had a good deal of success with contractors and homeowners alike.

Jeff Kiel, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, told Market Watch the biggest things for the company to consider were the cost and the simplicity of the kit.

“It’s like buying a ready-to-assemble furniture kit from Ikea,” he said in a press release. “Everything you need except wiring and ordinary tools is included.”

Well, there’s the simplicity.  But what about the costs?

CEO of Westinghouse, Barry Cinnamon, said that panel costs are at the point where they can be worth it.

“Now, paybacks in many states are less than five years – after which homeowners get free electricity from their system,” Market Watch quoted.

At the current price levels, installation is the biggest cost to consider, the article said.  But with panels that can be almost totally installed by a handy homeowner, we can rule that out as well.

That’s all for now,


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