Solar For the Home

by wjw on December 11, 2009

Lowe’s now sells solar panels that you can install yourself.

Lowe’s has begun stocking solar panels at its California stores and plans to roll them out across the country next year.

This shows how far the highest of the high-tech alternative energy technologies has come. Solar power is now accessible to anyone with a ladder, a power drill, and the gumption to climb up on a roof and install the panels themselves . . .

Professional installers typically handle all the necessary paperwork, like clearance from the local utility and applications for a bevy of government subsidies that can make the system a whole lot cheaper.

“You put solar panels on your roof without a permit, bad things happen to you,” said Jeff Wolfe, CEO of solar installer groSolar. “The utility could shut off the power.”

Lowe’s will staff a kiosk near the panels that provides information on how to apply for rebates . . .

One panel packs nowhere near the punch of a full solar system.

A typical solar system installed by a professional usually has 20 panels. Each Akeena panel will generate about 175 watts of electricity, about enough to power a flat screen television.

If you want more solar power, you can snap another panel to the first, kind of like Legos.

“People might want to put up one, see if it works. Then with their next paycheck, they may buy four more,” Cinnamon said.

Lowe’s is offering software that allows the homeowner to monitor the performance of each panel through the Internet. The panels are designed to withstand rough weather including hail storms, and they’re backed with a 25-year warranty covering defects.

Ty December 11, 2009 at 11:08 pm

I'll wait for the Lowe's do-it-yourself fusion reactor.

halojones-fan December 14, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Building without permits, against code, doing electrical work without permits and against code, failure to pay about a zillion different taxes, climbing on a ladder, making "architectural modifications" without getting permission from the county/township/city/state/Homeowners' Association/Historical Building Preservation Committee/whoever.

Which says more about the American addiction to bureaucracy than anything else. I'd love to build my own solar-power system. People whose names were never on a ballot have decided that it's illegal to do that.

dubjay December 15, 2009 at 5:17 am

Governments do have an interest in not having you set your house on fire— for instance, I wish my own house had been wired by an actual electrician instead of an amateur and his teenage sons, thus sparing me the anxiety of wondering when I throw a switch whether the place will finally blow up.

If it's actually illegal to build a solar-powered house where you live, you should definitely move.

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