Solar power. It’s talked about by many, it’s seen on many consumer goods, but as of yet, it’s not seen on many roofs. Not without substantial government subsidies. It’s often difficult and time consuming to install, requiring a team of professionals and reams of paperwork.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Veranda Solar is readying another option. One that requires little more then a screwdriver and a few hours, able to be plugged into a standard home outlet, putting power directly into the system, where duplex plugs are the norm. And it can cost as little as $600.
Begun as a student project at Stanford, Veranda Solar competed in the recent Clean Tech Forum for “Most Promising Investment Opportunity.” I would have to agree, it has clear potential.
Veranda Solar removes all the usual roadblocks to residential solar, and is planning to take a distinctly different route then current residential solar companies: Part of their market is “Networked Youth,” those active online and in social networks, with a higher interest in things green than older generations, and quite influential.
Their income, or lack of it is not of concern, as they would be able to lease them through their utility company. Yes, higher income LOHAS people are among their target market as well, but it’s these trend setting youth that I could see rapidly boosting Veranda’s profile among many segments of the population, their tastes spreading to the broader population, as in iPods.
Speaking of iPods, Veranda is intentionally focusing on the aesthetics of the product, something largely overlooked in this market, except perhaps for roof tile mimicking solar panels. Getting close to the consumer, in environments they’re already in for other purposes, they intend to sell these through home decor, home improvement, and utility clean power programs.
This, combined with a low financial entry point and the ability to easily add on, $450 at a time, could well be the sweet spot to mass solar implementation. The only barriers I see are where there is stricter residential permitting, as these do stand out, literally and figuratively. Even then, Veranda’s flexibility as to where it’s installed will offset most issues that could arise in this area.