Akeena Solar Inc (AKNS), well-known for their Andalay AC power systems, which are stand-alone solar systems designed for the average home, announced a partnership with Highland Solar (HS) today, Monday, Nov. 23.
HS, located in Ontario, will move at least 1.75 megawatts (MW) of the Andalay AC solar panels through 2010, via its local installers throughout Canada.
CEO of AKNA Barry Cinnamon commented on the growth potential of rooftop solar systems in Canada, and hailed the partnership with HS for distribution of Andalay AC systems, saying of the product that it could help Canadians “lower their electricity bills with safe, reliable solar panels that look like skylights”. Cinnamon embraced Canada’s bold political moves to sponsor real advancement in renewable energy, saying the “generous new renewable energy programs in Ontario and other provinces” would help open up a “large market for rooftop solar”.
Andalay AC panels are a simplified, stand-alone solar system which can feed power directly into the home owner’s AC power. Andalay AC panels produce 5-25% more power than DC, and eliminate all the dangerous and complex wiring DC systems require by having its electrical systems built directly in to this design, which uses 80% fewer parts than other systems of its type.
The Andalay system is among the first to achieve Ontario’s provincial requirement that 40% of the content come from Ontario. Ontario has a Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) program for producers of renewable energy that offers a fixed-price, 20-year contract. Under this micro-FiT program, for systems less than 10 kilowatts, homeowners can be paid 80.2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) generated.
President of HS, Sean McCrane, extolled the Andalay system as being the “perfect solar panel for Canadian homeowners”, and “manufactured with parts sourced in Ontario, it also installs quickly and safely, has superior looks and reliably, and delivers clean solar power throughout its lifetime”.
HS has been making its own brand of solar systems since 2005, but this license agreement with AKNS represents a first opportunity to manufacture and thus create jobs within its home province of Ontario. HS has leased a training facility for contracting companies in anticipation of high demand for the systems it will manufacture.
This partnership is the first distribution arrangement for AKNS outside the U.S., and it is also the largest such agreement for the Company to date. AKNS has expanded its network of installers to 42 in 19 states since the launch of its direct-to-installers initiative for the Andalay systems six months prior.
This partnership between AKNS and HS is well-timed, following on the heels of an award by Popular Mechanics to the Andalay AC solar system as “2009 Breakthrough Product of the Year”.