Most homeowners looking to go solar either buy a system for thousands of dollars or lease one.
Now, thanks to Sharp’s new SunSnap product, they’ll soon have a new option. For as little as $1,000, you can buy a single panel with a micro-inverter built right into it.
The new Sharp Solar system made its debut at this year’s TED Conference in Long Beach, California. TED is a nonprofit organization that promotes innovative ideas. The SunSnap system was installed on LivingHome C6, the first low-cost built by fabricated homes builder LivingHomes. Solar provider Paramount Solar performed the installation.
Sharp is calling the SunSnap product a “home appliance.” Each solar panel is a black-on-black 235-watt module. A micro-inverter, mounting and grounding assembly is incorporated into each panel. Sharp Solar senior vice president Eric Hafter said, “It’s called SunSnap, because you literally snap the next panel into place.”
The system is designed to make installation of a residential solar system simpler, and to enable homeowners to start their solar system with as few as one panel and add more panels later. The black-on-black module may address aesthetic concerns as well.
Sharp is currently selling the SunSnap system to solar contractors and installation partners. One partner has already installed a system large enough to provide all of the electricity needs for that homeowner. Sharp plans to begin selling the system on the retail market later this year.
Hafter says the SunSnap is easier to install than a new dishwasher. PV inverters don’t typically have the same product life as the panels. If Sharp has addressed this concern with an incorporated inverter that is as long-lasting as the panel itself, residential solar may take another leap forward.