Durango Telegraph - Solar start-ups: New technology opens solar to the masses
Solar start-ups: New technology opens solar to the masses

Durangoans can officially start socking away their pennies for solar. Thanks to new technology, inexpensive starter systems are now available for those interested in renewable energy but lacking the up-front funding for a major investment.

Typically, solar systems require at least seven photovoltaic panels and a large inverter to convert the direct current into alternating current. However, new micro-inverter technology is enabling people to install inexpensive starter systems of even just one panel and then build as the budget allows.

“It used to be that the smallest solar systems were made up of seven panels,” said Travis Zbornik, of Bland Solar. “As a result, you had this big initial set up cost and solar was really cost prohibitive for many people.”

With the micro-inverter technology, a rebate from La Plata Electric Association and a tax credit, homeowners can get into solar power for as little as $1,260 for a single-panel, 180-watt production system. In addition, an array composed of micro-inverter panels offers greater efficiency – separate circuiting enables portions of the system to produce while others are in the shade.

“The technology is strong, and it’s a great opportunity for young couples and families,” Zbornik added. “You can start with just one panel and add on. You even could put aside a penny jar for a new panel each year.”

– Will Sands

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