New technology in the solar panel kit market could make solar easier to install and more affordable than ever.
For years consumers have heard about the benefits of solar power: lower electric bills; clean renewable energy; helping the environment. But most consumers were priced out of the market. The technology was simply too expensive, especially with a weak economy. And homeowners looking to save some money by installing their own system often had to navigate a tangled mess of racking, wiring, and building codes.
Now several manufacturers are offering solar panels that set up on the lawn, or on a deck railing, and then simply plug into the wall to provide power for your home.
This system from Spinray Energy is made to mount on a deck railing and plug into a standard outlet.
Made Possible By Micro-Inverters
Solar panels produce direct current (or DC) power and the standard American home needs 110V alternating current (or AC) power. Plus most standard grid tie inverters are expensive and bulky, so if you were buying a system you had to buy enough solar panels to make the inverter pay for itself. Thanks to micro-inverters, each panel now produces 110V or 220V AC power.
UL Listings Mean They Are Safe
These kits have been rumored to hit the market for nearly a decade. The issue was that the producer was usually foreign and could not get past American and Canadian regulatory authorities. Producing power and simply pushing it into the home’s electrical system can be dangerous and not as easy as it sounds. The new kits have been tested and authorized by the Underwriters Laboratory, which regulates home electronics. This means that they are safe for homes.
Expansion Is Easy, and Infinite
These new systems are also easy to expand as your budget allows. Since each solar panel its own inverter, you can expand the system by simply buying more panels and inverters and plugging them into your existing system in parallel. Homeowners could start with as little as one solar panel, and then expand to 20 or 30 panels as needed. I’ve seen one family in Kansas add one panel every year on earth day, and they now have over 3000 watts.
This unit is perfect for yard mounted systems and plugs into a 230V outlet.
Mounting Options Abound
Another sticking point with the old solar power systems was the mounting technology. Homeowners were required to have a wide, south facing roof, which excluded the vast majority of homes. The new systems can be mounted on a deck or in the yard, which means almost anyone with limited shading can install a solar kit. And the kits come with the mounting integrated into the back of the panel, so that installation literally takes minutes.
New technology has consistently brought down the price of solar power over the last decade. With these new plug and play options, we’re sure to see solar become more affordable and easier to install than ever.
About the Author: Kriss Bergethon is a writer and solar expert from Colorado. He lives off the grid with his wife and two dogs in a solar powered home. For more information visit his site at solar panel kits.