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12/11/2009 11:04 AM     print story email story  

Lowe's Begins Selling DIY Solar Panels News

For the first time, homeowners can purchase solar panels off the shelves of a major retailer. 

Akeena Solar Inc.'s (Nasdaq:AKNS) Andalay AC panels are now available at 21 Lowe's (NYSE: LOW) home-improvement stores in California.

Akeena says the panels are designed for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) installation, though homeowners will also be responsible for acquiring permits from utilities and handling paperwork for state and federal refunds--services generally handled by commercial installers.

Lowe's reportedly will provide information to assist homeowners in handling the paperwork, as well as software to monitor performance of the panels online.

The Andalay AC panels have integrated racking, wiring and grounding, which Akeena solar says reduces the overall parts count by 80%. Andalay panels also have built-in inverters that produce household AC power, so they can be plugged directly into a home's circut breaker.

Lowe's is creating an "Energy Center" in each of these stores, which in addition to providing solar information, will also offer advice on energy efficieny. A touch-screen information kiosk is designed to help customers evaluate their solar and wind potential, and feature products that measure energy use and reduce energy consumption. Lowe's said the Energy Center will be in additional U.S. and Canadian stores in 2010.

If Lowe's decides to carry the panels nationwide, the easy availability could open up additional business opportunities for exelectricians and HVAC contractors who could install the systems without specialized training.

The Associated Press reported that individual panels will retail for $893 a piece and provide about 175 watts of electricity. 

A typical homes system would include about 20 panels, but the Andalay panels have a modular design that is meant to allow homeowners to start small and add on.

"The PC revolution in the computer industry occurred when new technology made PCs easy to use and affordable," said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Akeena Solar. "Likewise, with panels becoming plug-and-play appliances, the solar revolution has started. The availability of solar panels in Lowe's stores makes it easy for homeowners to go solar and is a big step toward getting solar on every sunny rooftop."


Reader Comments (1)


Date Posted:
10/14/11 09:57 PM

That's A lot of money for one panel. I can buy A 3 by 6 60 watt panel for around $300

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