#1 cleantech news, reviews, & analysis site in the world. Subscribe today. The future is now.

Clean Power

Published on April 6th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


New Solar Panel Kit Could Make Solar Easier for Homeowners

April 6th, 2012 by  

Below is a guest post about a new solar panel plug-n-play kit. The post comes from our friend Kriss Bergethon of Solar Sphere. Enjoy!

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.

How can people find out more?

Visit our website at www.mysolarpod.com.

Kriss Bergethon is a writer and solar expert from Colorado, visit his site at solar panel kits.

Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • Alex_vega003

    What type of batteries can be use to store solar energy so that it can
    be used at night thnx.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I’m using 6volt lead-acid “golf cart” batteries.  Other people use larger L-16 lead-acid batteries.  A few people are now using lithium-ion batteries.

      In the next few years we should see more options coming to market.  One company is just about to start manufacturing sodium-ion batteries that sound very promising for home power storage.  They should last much longer and accept lower discharges than do lead-acid batteries.

  • This may be a silly question but, what is the point of having a solar panel if you still have to plug into your regular electric service? I thought the whole point was to generate power from the sun?

    • Bob_Wallace

      You plug the panel into your regular electrical service so that the electricity from your panel can flow to your refrigerator, TV, whatever.

      There’s no power flowing from your service to the panel.

      It’s all about making panels easier to install – making them more DIY.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Let me add more to that –

      Having solar panels means that you can make a lot of the power you use.

      By plugging into the grid it means that you can use grid power when the sun isn’t shining.  That’s much cheaper than setting up a battery storage system and some sort of backup generation.

      With some (most?) utility companies you can ‘sell’ them your extra electricity and then get back what you need for no cost, equal to the amount sent to them.

      It’s a good deal for you.  Let the utility company be your “backup/storage” system.

      It’s a good deal for them.  The hours that you produce power from your solar panels are some of the most expensive wholesale hours, the utility saves money.  Then they pay you back with power that costs them less to generate/purchase.

      • Just to confirm: if your solar system is connected to the grid, you are out of electricity when the grid is, right? read that somewhere but can’t remember where now.

        I’ve heard that folks in WV who have been without electricity for about a week(!) are thinking/talking about solar now. But would have to be off-grid solar to protect them from such occurrences, I think…

        • Bob_Wallace

          Financially, installing battery backup for the grid doesn’t make sense.  You’d have to purchase a couple thousand dollars worth of batteries and an inverter. 

          You might end up with $5,000 or more tied up in a system that you might use once in a while, perhaps not even once in a year.

          It makes a lot more sense to back up with a ~$500 generator.

          That’s not the best for the environment, but the cost difference is significant.

          If storage batteries get as cheap as some companies think it might then it might make sense to install storage even when you’re on the grid.

          If you could store  your own solar power cheaper than the cost of buying from the grid during off-peak then grid-connected storage would make sense.

          What we need is a smarter grid.  Lots of the outages could be instantly fixed with smarter power routing.  

          If all neighborhood grids are set up as loops then the only houses that would lose power would be those who are between two downed lines.  Everyone else would be routed power from the ‘live’ end.

Back to Top ↑