July 22nd, 2012 by Nicholas Brown
New solar panel designs that are intended to reduce the installation time and cost of solar power systems hae been created by a German and a Chinese partnership.
The cost of installing solar panels can exceed the cost of the solar panels themselves, including the cost of the other equipment, such as inverters, cables, etc. The labour cost of installing solar panels alone is 30% of the system cost, on average ($300 for every $1,000 of the system cost, or $3000 of the cost of a $10,000 system).
People who are handy can save themselves a massive amount of money on solar setups — as much as one could save from tax rebates. Imagine being able to install a $10,000 system for $7,000 without tax credits, or $4,900 with tax credits.
Being handy can certainly pay off. The ultimate breakthrough would enable the average person to simply slap solar panels on the roof and the only remaining labour would be for the electrician, but I have yet to see that.
For the Rest of Us
For those not so handy or motivated, Solon Energy (from Berlin, Germany) and Trina Solar (from Changzhou, China) have teamed up to make an attractive solar product. The companies have introduced one of the easiest-to-install solar designs, and gotten some good recognition for it. They say that the systems can reduce installation time by more than half (and, hence, reduce installation cost considerably).
Mechanical installation time can be cut up to 85%, and electrical installation time can be cut 50%.
These new designs reduce the tools required to install the system and are standardized so that they can be designed more quickly.
Maybe in the future, their systems could be ready to install from the factory without the need to design and build mounting infrastructure from scratch for every installation. (Installing solar panels on flat rooftops entails the preparation of long metal racks, and tilting them so they face the sun diagonally to maximize power production. These also hold the panels together.)
Solon has two easy-to-install offerings, SOLquick and SOLfixx. “SOLquick is intended for non-metal commercial roofs; SOLfixx for rooftops that can bear less weight. Both require flat roof surfaces,” sister site CleanTechnica notes.
“Neither paneling system requires roof penetration in most instances…. Tool-free installation, lighter weight materials and snap-together construction makes adding solar panels to commercial rooftops much more appealing to business owners of all stripes.”
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