Five Easy Solar Options for the Home


Perhaps you've seen one of a few micro-inverter-type solar products on the market and wondered whether you could install a solar system at home.  Unless you're an electrician, that may or may not be a good idea, but these products (some available now and others coming to market) make it a whole lot easier to get started generating solar energy at home.  Check these five:

1.  Westinghouse from Akeena Solar


Andalay Solar, now Westinghouse Solar, from Akeena Solar is a modular system (with built-in racking, grounding, and wiring) that the company says is ideal for DIYers because it has 80% less parts than other systems and delivers AC power.  (Read our prior coverage.)

2.  Solar in a Box from Ready Solar

Ground mount 4

Ready Solar also offers a modular system designed for easy installation.  Micro-inverters convert DC to AC at each panel, which can be mounted on a roof or the ground, and Ready Solar ships everything in boxes for roof or ground-mount installation.  (Read our prior coverage.)

3.  SolarClover from Armageddon Energy


Armageddon Energy makes a SolarClover with a micro-inverter, a simple triangular mounting system, and three solar leaves, if you will.  The company hopes to make its SolarClover commercially available by year end, while pre-production systems are available to select customers.  (Read our prior coverage.)

4.  SunSine AC Module from GreenRay Solar


GreenRay Solar makes a SunSine AC Module that the company calls the "world's first solar appliance."  The plug and play system incorporates the PV module, inverter, mounting, and wiring in a single package. 

5.  Sunfish from Clarian Power


Clarian Power is developing a solar power module, the Sunfish, that plugs into an existing outlet and installs without a dedicated electrical panel.  The product, which has a built-in micro-inverter, will not require contractors, installers, or additional wires.  (Read our prior coverage.)

Did we miss any dead-simple solar options for the home?

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  • Chad Ludeman

    This is a good list. It will be interesting to see the impact on solar sales when Home Depot, Lowes and IKEA start to offer them for sale to DIY’ers.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, i agree with Chad. I’d also like to point out that most of these systems/options end up being grid-tied and in many cases are unable, by design, to produce electricity during a power outage. Just something to be aware of. I know that I for one would’ve liked to power a couple fans and lights during our summer outages.

  • Ready Solar

    Thank you for the coverage.
    Janey Ward

  • Anonymous

    if only PACE wasn’t being killed by the Fannie/Freddie monster it would be another one…plenty of other co-op and community solar programs out there also helping make solar easy, affordable, and within reach for homeowners. (not as easy as these plug and play kits, though). great round-up, preston.

  • Steve

    I guess I don’t understand why being tied back into the grid would keep the panels from producing and sending power during an outage. Do they tie into the grid or into the home or do you have an option for both?

    I hope that’s not too dumb a question.

    • MrSteve007

      It’s mostly due to utility worker’s safety and UL listing. If the panels kept producing power during an outage, they would back-feed the grid. If this were to happen after a storm, you would very likely electrocute a utility worker fixing the powerline on your street. Because of that, simple grid tied systems shutoff until they see a steady voltage from the grid.

      Grid-tied + battery backup systems typically resolve this problem by being able to ‘island’ themselves when the grid voltage shows instability or outage. The capacity of the batteries allows for the inverter to better steady and maintain the voltage for your home, and has an internal automatic switch to isolate and operate independently from the grid.

      Hope that answers your question.

      • Steve

        Makes all the sense. Thanks for the reply.

  • [email protected]

    Please come to Earthwell Festival in Park City Utah to learn more about Solar! This Saturday and Sunday. Come check out Green Energy & Solar Designs. Thanks Preston!

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