Akeena Solar (Nasdaq:AKNS), an installer and manufacturer of modular solar panels, has entered into an exclusive worldwide agreement to manufacture, distribute, market and install its solar panels under the Westinghouse name.
Akeena Solar said as solar purchasers move from early adopters to mainstream consumers, a
lack of brand recognition will discourage buyers. This agreement is meant to
address that issue.
Andalay Solar will be renamed Westinghouse Solar. This Westinghouse
Solar subsidiary will manage the design, manufacturing and distribution
of Akeena's AC solar panels. Akeena Solar, the
California-based parent company and its authorized dealers, including
Lowe's Home Improvement stores (NYSE: LOW), will have the exclusive rights to
install Westinghouse Solar panels.
The Andalay solar panel is unique, in that it is designed for simple installation--with microinverters and mountings contained in a single unit, providing plug-in AC power. Akeena says the panels produce up to 25% more energy than ordinary direct-current (DC)
panels, and reduce the parts count by 80%.The company recently began selling the panels at Lowe's stores in California for homeowners who want to tackle do-it-yourself solar projects.
Westinghouse-branded solar panels will begin shipping to customers in
the US and Canada later this summer.
"Since the beginning, we've worked consistently to make
solar more mainstream," said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Akeena Solar. "We began as a rooftop installer. We then designed
our own easy-to-install solar panels that gave customers superior
reliability and aesthetics. We improved our design by manufacturing
higher-performance AC panels, and built a dealer network that has grown
to more than 25 states and Canada. We then partnered with Lowe's Home
Improvement stores for installation services, along with the first
do-it-yourself solar panels stocked on retail shelves.
"Now, with the exclusive rights to the Westinghouse Solar brand, we look forward to accelerated growth without large up-front brand investments," concluded Cinnamon.