Monday, March 9, 2009

Veranda Solar: new company breaks PV mold

Company photo from Veranda Solar webpage.

I had often wondered who would be the outfit to repackage solar photovoltaic systems away from the "expert installation" model.

This new start-up outfit from California
, consisting of a couple of Stanford students and their hires, has figured out how. Their panels, designed with aesthetics in mind, will ship for about $600 with inverter, which can then be plugged into an outlet to deliver the power to the grid. They hope to sell through Home Depot.

A nice marketing idea. Not necessarily the most efficient use of semiconductor material, though. The Nanosolar model, of minimizing the inputs with print-film technology, and selling only to grid scale power stations, properly sited, with distributed power benefits factored in at some locations, is far better.

Not that this will deter the customers, though. These guys stand to make a packet if they can bring their product to market in the box stores, especially if they can get UL-laboratory rating or similar.

They must have a pretty spiffy inverter, able to match the phase through a wall-socket connection. That seems to be the big innovation here, not the fancy shaped panels.

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