/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

Piecemeal solar panels (photos)

More companies are developing solar systems that can be installed a few panels at a time, bringing down the hefty upfront cost of solar photovoltaics.

headshots_martin_laMonica_140x100.jpg
Martin LaMonica
8.jpg
1 of 6 Westinghouse Solar

Andalay solar panels

More companies are designing solar electric panels with microinverters, which makes it easier to install just a few panels at a time. That means instead of spending $25,000 to $40,000 for a full rooftop of solar panels, people could spend much less for a handful of panels.

Andalay Solar, which is changing its name to Westinghouse Solar, has a product package it calls "plug and play" solar. It includes a solar panel with a microinverter, which converts direct current to alternating current on each panel, and simplified wiring and racking system. The company is testing a program to sell them through Lowe's stores in California.

Return to story: "Thinking about solar? It's easier to start small"

SolarClover.JPG
2 of 6 Armageddon Solar

Solar Clover

Armageddon Solar is developing this product, called the Solar Clover, which it hopes to release by the end of the year. The idea is that it will take a few hours to install and be as easy as buying any appliance. This single clover can produce enough electricity to power a few kitchen appliances, it said.

Another advantage to microinverter-based systems is that each panel can be monitored and performance can be viewed online.

Return to story: "Thinking about solar? It's easier to start small"

SharpPanel.JPG
3 of 6 Sharp Solar

Sharp panels

Green Ray Solar is a start-up developing a system through which solar panels put out alternating current, instead of direct current. The AC panel will have a simplified wiring system that makes it easy to put a few panels on initially and then add more later, according to the company.

Green Ray Solar expects its system to be available in the fall. It will include panels made from Sanyo (this panel is made by Sharp Solar) as well as a microinverter and an online monitoring system.

Return to story: "Thinking about solar? It's easier to start small"

Clarianawning_270x194.jpg
4 of 6 Clarian Technologies

Clarian Sunfish

Clarian Technologies is developing the Sunfish, a system that will allow a consumer to install one or three panels themselves. This is a photo of a solar awning the company designed. Clarian hopes to release its product next year, but it has not yet gotten UL certification.

Return to story: "Thinking about solar? It's easier to start small"

enphasejune2010.JPG
5 of 6 Enphase Energy

Enphase microinverter

Enphase Energy, started a few years ago, is rapidly growing around its microinverter business. Microinverters convert direct current from solar panels to household alternating current, a technology that makes it easier to install a few panels, rather than a rooftop array. Microinverter technology has been pursued for many years, but the reliability and efficiency has improved in the past few years.

Return to story: "Thinking about solar? It's easier to start small"

regen_renu_iphone_doc.jpg
6 of 6 Regen

Regen solar chargers

Of course, if you really want a small solar system, you could always buy a solar charger. This one from Regen, still under development, combines a solar panel and an integrated battery in a slate form. There's a docking station for iPods or lights that draws on the stored energy.

Return to story: "Thinking about solar? It's easier to start small"

More Galleries

The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2021

More Galleries

The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2021

40 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

65 Photos
2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has rugged style and hybrid power

More Galleries

2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has rugged style and hybrid power

74 Photos
2022 Lexus LX 600 is the only Land Cruiser we're going to get

More Galleries

2022 Lexus LX 600 is the only Land Cruiser we're going to get

21 Photos
2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

More Galleries

2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

63 Photos
The 51 best VR games

More Galleries

The 51 best VR games

53 Photos
2022 BMW M5 CS is one hot sedan

More Galleries

2022 BMW M5 CS is one hot sedan

32 Photos