Is Smaller the Future for Residential?

Right now, the average California consumer might put 3 kilowatts ormore of solar on their house, but the new trend might be toward one andtwo kilowatts.

Small systems can be financed on a credit card, said Mark Goldman, co-founder of Armageddon Energy,which wants to make modular solar systems for homes, during apresentation at a panel on residential solar sponsored by GreentechMedia at Intersolar, which takes place in San Francisco this week.

pann Is Smaller the Future for Residential?

Danny Kennedy, president of Sungevity, concurred. A substantialportion of the orders Sungevity receives, he added, are under 3kilowatts. (Sungevity has software for estimating the cost of a solarinstallation but the company also conducts installations.)

Ideally, these kind of systems could be installed by homeownersthemselves or installed by trained technicians at Best Buy or HomeDepot, said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Akeena Solar, which has developed atmodular rack called Andalaythat contains the solar panels, racking and most of the requiredelectronics in a single package.Ultimately, you could see a bifurcationin the market: semi-custom systems providing 3 or more kilowatts ofpower installed by professionals and smaller ones installed bysemi-pros.

Interestingly, Cinnamon said that Andalaypanels actually sells for aslight premium, when measured on a per-kilowatt basis. Consumers arewilling to pay for the convenience of having easier-to-install modularracks. So not everything in solar is based on price.

One last note: Jeff Wolfe, CEO of GroSolar, added, that pricescontinue to come down. In California, you can get solar on your housefor $6 a watt in some situations.