Solar power company Clarian Technologies has developed a new concept in residential solar power: the solar appliance. Just like a refrigerator or microwave, a homeowner can buy the Sunfish solar power system, plug it into any outdoor outlet and start feeding solar power into their home.
Whereas most solar power systems require a contractor to install the module and an electrician to connect it to the electric panel through an inverter (to convert the DC power generated to AC power), Clarian says a handy homeowner can install the Sunfish themselves in about an hour.
The other major bonus of such a plug-and-play-type system, is the cost. Let's face it, that's the main draw. The base model Sunfish will cost $799 with the largest running about $4,000, where a typical roof-mounted system costs a minimum of $10,000 and goes steeply up from there.
Of course, you get what you pay for. With the largest Sunfish, a homeowner could expect to generate about 150 kWh per month, compared to the 920 kWh of electricity that a typical homeowner uses per month. But for $4,000, that's still a nice dent in your energy usage and, consequently, your energy bill. What's best about this appliance is that it could make residential solar power accessible to a much wider range of homeowners.
The Sunfish will be Wi-Fi enabled so that homeowners can use energy management software like Google's PowerMeter to monitor their energy production and use. The Sunfish should be on the market by the middle of 2011 and will likely be sold through big retailers like Lowe's and Costco.
via NY Times
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