Westinghouse has launched the world’s first fully integrated plug-and-play solar panels. The company’s innovative trademarked instant connection system eliminates panel-to-panel wiring and racking. The company claims their system reduces installation costs by 50%.
Last week, the designer and manufacturer of solar power systems, Westinghouse Solar, announced the release of a new line of solar panels under the trade name Instant Connect. The system promises faster and easier rooftop installations than commonly available products.
Westinghouse Solar’s new product is one in a long list of innovations by the company that developed and integrated racking directly into the solar panels in 2007. They also introduced the industry’s first UL-approved AC solar panel in 2009. Instant Connect is the company’s first plug-and-play product. This solar panel eliminates time-consuming and sometimes difficult connection of panel-to-panel wiring for residential AC systems and commercial DC systems.
Westinghouse Solar has developed this product with innovative sets of UL-approved electrical connectors that are integrated directly into the sides of each solar panel. This allows installers on roofs to plug solar panels together easily; various patents have already been established for the. Westinghouse Solar’s Instant Connect includes frames of the solar panels and splices that connect the solar panels together. They stipulate precision alignments of different electrical connectors and eliminate manual wiring and cabling.
Installation of current standard solar panels
Currently, installation of solar panels requires assembly of many individual parts, which include long sections of aluminium or steel racking, electrical conduit to separate the high-voltage DC wires. The list of tasks involved is lengthy and costly.
Installation can be challenging particularly given assembly on roof environments as there is risk of fall. The core problem of rooftop installation is that manufacturers never considered easy system packages that reduce parts and make installation easy. Another obstacle is that installation components only fit individual manufacturers’ products leaving consumers not much choice in the selection process of parts and assembly solutions.
Westinghouse Solar’s alternative to standard systems
The solar designer explains to have had the idea of Instant Connect, ten years ago. The idea of Westinghouse Solar’s product was to develop an installation package, which reduced the number of individual components. The aim was to develop a system which included an integrated racking solution and ease the installation of solar panels on rooftops. Instant Connect does not require an underlying sub structure. The wiring is done through special connectors on the sides of the panels. Westinghouse patented this concept, and in 2007 began to introduce first products incorporating parts of the patent.
Currently, rooftop solar panels have become reasonably cheap and easy to install. Westinghouse claims that their new product allows electricians, HVAC contractors and skilled Do-It-Yourself (DIY) to install a system without difficulties.
Instant Connect can be added on to enlarge a smaller panel system at a later stage. Westinghouse Solar Power Systems, including Instant Connect are available through larger home improvement and DIY retailers.
Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Westinghouse Solar, says the pressure to reduce costs of fully-installed rooftop solar systems remains high. The Westinghouse Solar suggests that their innovative system can lower the immediate installation costs by an estimated $0.25/watt. In other words, this would render solar energy installation much more cost attractive
The system is now available for customer in North America.
About Westinghouse Solar:
The designer and manufacturer of solar power systems, Westinghouse Solar, has developed a system in 2007, which integrated racking, grounding and wiring instantly into the photovoltaic panels. The company branded their product system originally “Andalay” and won industry acclaim.
In 2009 Westinghouse Solar launched another product following the same concept as “Andalay.” This time it integrated AC solar panels which lead to a decrease in the volume of components required for solar panel installation by an estimated 80%. The product’s easy installation also lowered installation and labour costs by nearly 50%.
Westinghouse Solar won the 2009 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award for this product. It also became the industry’s most widely installed AC solar panel.
With this year’s launch of Instant Connect, Westinghouse Solar is providing AC and DC configurations, which are the only panels with integrated racking, grounding and wiring. The company prides itself on providing the best combination of performance, safety and sustained reliability.