Low-Cost Solar Array Developed for Residential Installation

A Seattle-based company says that it has developed an inexpensive do-it-yourself solar power technology that will enable homeowners to install solar panels on their roofs and then connect them to their power supply by simply plugging a cord into a regular electrical outlet. The company, Clarian Power, is touting its Sunfish system — with prices beginning at $799 — as a major advance in reducing the high cost of installing home solar power systems, which typically start at $10,000.

Clarian says its Sunfish system does not require a dedicated control panel and has built-in circuit protection, and thus does not require an electrician for installation. Users would mount up to five solar panels anywhere on the house, and plug the device into any outlet. The system is Wi-Fi enabled, enabling users to monitor the performance with online software such as the Google PowerMeter. The largest module will be able to generate 150 kilowatt hours per month, company officials say, so it would take five to six modules to produce the roughly 900 kilowatts used by an average American home. Clarian officials say their goal is not to enable homeowners to generate excess electrical capacity, but rather to reduce their monthly energy use and lower their utility bills.

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