|April 09, 2012|
New Solar Panel Kit Could Make Solar Easier for Homeowners
|There's a new solar panel kit for homeowners out there. It's a new system that simply plugs into a 230V wall plug and provides power for your home. We interviewed Mouli, founder of Mouli Engineering (the company that's created it), to learn more about this exciting new development.|
Could you briefly describe the SolarPod?
The Mouli Engineering SolarPodTM is a modular; quick connect-to-grid, PnP-ready and scalable solar PV electricity-generating system. The SolarPodTM offers features for quick change pitch angle, simple snow removal, and easy deployment for flat roof, ground mounting and gabled roof tops. The light-weight prefabricated SolarPodTM design minimizes on-site installation time. The easily configurable SolarPodTM can be placed in service to both utility-scale projects and to low-volume residential and commercial installations of solar panels, with the lowest cost to the consumer end-user.
What inspired you to create this?
Respecting our planet and how I can produce something from natural resources. We live in a home that is powered by the sun for all of our electricity needs for the whole year.
As an engineer, I like to solve real problems. Our present problem is that our rate of consumption far exceeds the rate of replenishment of natural resources on our planet. Using new technology and innovative engineering, this overconsumption can be checked. Solar is one solution that I believe in.
A prefabricated solar PV system that seamlessly integrates all components into an existing facility with the lowest installation cost will make it more affordable for all. Lower costs also make it possible to move away from rebates eventually.
When did you first build a prototype?
Prototypes were designed in the late part of 2009 and early 2010.
What is your background?
My educational qualification and credentials include a PhD from UW-Madison, Professional Engineer since 1997, Certified Energy Manger, and North American Board Certified PV Installer.
My skills and talents include nearly 20 years of experience in product engineering and helping one of the largest semiconductor companies to develop state-of-the-art digital technologies in applications such as cell phones, super computers and consumer electronics.
When did you start manufacturing the SolarPOD?
The concepts of the SolarPodTM as plug-n-play solar with modularity was developed in early 2010.
How exactly does it work?
In simple terms -- "Just plug it in to a dedicated branch circuit."
How do you install the SolarPod?
The SolarPodTM can be installed on flat roofs, ground mounts and gabled roof.
The SolarPodTM arrives in a palette. It comes in four main parts; two bottom frames and the top two solar-mounted frames. They join using splice bars. The bottom frame is fastened to the flat roof, ground or rafters through anchors.
Is this system UL compliant?
All components are certified to UL.
Can it be used in any home in the US or Canada?
It can be installed in any home or business in the US and Canada.
How does it work with net metering? Will this system actually push power back through the grid?
The meter installed on the facility should be a digital meter that is programmed by the utility company for distributed generation. By law, all utilities must comply with a customer's request to place a digital meter.
As soon as you plug in the SolarPodTM to a dedicated branch circuit, and the meter is installed by the utility company, you are now pushing power back to the grid in the day and purchasing back during the night. Limits are present on how much solar you can install and these vary by each state.
Do customers need utility approval before installation? What about building permits?
In order to benefit from net metering, it is best to inform and obtain approval from your utility company. If no rebates are expected from the utility, you can just plug the SolarPodTM and start making solar power. Additional paperwork may be required by the utility company if they provide rebates.
Permitting requirements vary from between cities and also where the SolarPodTM is installed. If they are installed in rural areas (farms), permitting may not be required. However, in cities, please contact your city building inspection department. TheSolarPodTM exceeds code requirements and we can help answer additional questions on paperwork and code compliance.
How much does the base unit cost? Product options?
The base unit is $3,999.99 + shipping.
We do give a monitoring option at $500 additional cost. With purchase of 4 or more systems, the monitoring cost is free. The monitoring is for a lifetime and no additional charges are present.