Solar Panels — On Amazon?

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Andalay Solar offers a modular, easy-to-install AC solar panel system on Amazon.com. Should solar leasing companies worry?

 

Is solar mainstream yet? If a growing presence on Amazon is any indication, then it’s well on the way.

And we’re not talking just the DIY off-grid solar you might have seen in the past. If you search for solar panels on Amazon, among the DIY panel kits you’ll see a few grid-tied options popping up.

One of those is from solar manufacturer Andalay Solar (OTCQB: WEST). Today the company announced that for the first time, homeowners anywhere in the U.S can purchase the company’s high-performing, easy-to-install solar panels online at Amazon.com.

Building on the 60% annual growth of U.S. residential solar power system installations in 2013, Andalay Solar believes its Amazon offering will help spread solar power even more.

“Andalay Solar has already made the installation of residential solar systems very easy with our AC solar system kits that contain all the key parts needed to install a home solar system. We want to make the purchase similarly easy through Amazon.com where any homeowner could buy our solar system kits,” said CEO Steven Chan in a statement. “The availability of solar panels on Amazon.com makes it easy for the end user to go solar either by self-installing or hiring a contractor to install for them. We have already had success with our current retail sales channel via Lowes.com and are excited to build upon that with the addition of Amazon.com, which we believe will make easy-to-install solar available to an even wider range of consumers in the US.”

The move to sell on Amazon targets the DIY market. Andalay Solar offers grid-tied AC solar system kits either with 4 panels or with 1, making it quick and easy for DIYers to customize the size of their solar power system.

Installers should take note, as Andalay’s kits allow DIYers to install a renewable energy system at a lower cost than through an installer. It’s likely that the group of enterprising DIYers will remain small, but any homeowner can hire an electrician or HVAC contractor to install an Andalay solar power system without specialized training.

Andalay says its panels are easier and safer to install than others. The company’s plug-and-play feature boasts integrated racking, wiring, and grounding, which simplifies and expedites the installation process by reducing the overall parts count by 80%. A built-in inverter produces household AC power, eliminating the need for high-voltage DC wiring and attendant concerns about safety issues that come with DC systems.

In addition, Andalay AC systems produce 5 to 25% more energy output than traditional DC ones.

Because of the modular design of Andalay AC systems, homeowners can choose to install a few panels now and gradually add on later, unlike with most DC systems, which require complete redesign when adding panels.