Home Solar Panel Kits Come To Costco

Costco members will soon be able to add solar power systems for clean energy solutions at home alongside power tools and pancake mix on their shopping lists. Eugene, Oregon based Grape Solar has recently announced that several of its solar kits will soon be available through Costco’s website in the  ”Hardware” section under the Generators & Backup Power subcategory. Costco members will have a choice of  880W, 2300W, 3680W or 5060W ready-to-install kits, with prices ranging from around $3,600 upwards to around $18,000.

The solar kits are “grid-tied” systems that include Grape Solar panels, inverters, and racking systems that are ready to install onto the roofs of homes and other structures. Grape Solar says the kits are designed to be expandable, so customers can start small and grow their system over time if they wish. In order to facilitate installation, Grape Solar says that it developed a network of over 5,000 installers who will be available to provide locally based customer support.

Grape Solar Kit

image via Grape Solar

Grape Solar says it launched a test program in several markets starting in July of 2010. Customer response was apparently positive, so the program was expanded to include other warehouses in high-demand solar markets. Once the products are available on-line, they can be ordered and delivered to a buyer’s home in just a few days.

Grape Solar’s panels come with a 25-year warranty on power output and a 10-year warranty on materials and workmanship. All of the home solar kits should be eligible for federal, state and local utility rebate and incentive programs, but it would be wise to ask first if unsure.

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  • Deb Love

    Wish this was available a couple of years ago. It took almost 18 mos. to get our system installed through a contractor. Sure wish we could have taken it in our own hands to get things moving.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Irig/1051762897 Bill Irig

    Not enough cost information regarding the installation. I guess if one has to be concerned with cost he isn’t ready to buy!.

  • aroldan783

    As a solar contractor, this may make sense depending on the cost of installation. For a pro to do it, you are looking at 5.00-6.50/watt including all materials, panels, inverters, rails, permits, rebate processing, etc. depending on the installation type (type of roof, length of run, ground mount, etc.) Our turn around is around 3 weeks, including permits, installation and completion. Might make sense for the DIY, but the savings wont be that much, since installers have overhead, workers comp, etc.

    • Kendra Jones

      What system do you install? and where is it offered?

      • jfreed27

        Go to Angie’s list, pick three contractors and see which one you like. They all know about rebates, paper work, etc. and with Angie behind you, you will find a good one, I think.

  • Anonymous

    I work for a major solar panel manufacturer and I think itu2019s great that Costco is promoting renewable energy, but even though these are u201ckits,u201d consumers should consider several factors before purchasing solar panels:nn 1.tNot every home or business is the same. Itu2019s not really possible to design a u201ckitu201d that will work for every situation.nn 2.tNot every home or business is suitable for solar or may have shading issues. Each install should be looked at individually before determining the system size and components.nn 3.tMost incentives, utilities require professional installation, so solar is not really a DIY project.nn 4.tCost of installation. Iu2019m not sure what their installation cost will be for these systems, but it could be a significant addition to the base price of the system.nnSome additional considerations to take into account before committing to a product that will hopefully be on your roof for 25 or more years:nn 1.tThe quality and reputation of the solar panel manufacturer:n – Are the panels made domestically or overseas? n – How long has the panel manufacturer been in business? n – Does the manufacturer have panels that have been in use for the length of their warranty or longer?nn 2.tThe performance of the solar panels. The most important factor is not the efficiency of the panel or cell, but the total kWh produced on an annual basis as that is what actually lowers your electric bill. Because of variances in manufacturing and the design of the panels themselves, higher efficiency does not always equal more kWh produced. Any installer proposal should give you the estimated kWh produced annually.nnMy personal advice would be to shop around and talk to several solar panel manufacturers and/or installers before making a purchase decision.

    • jfreed27

      Good point. We had our panels installed (requiring knowledge and experience) and it cost us $8.5K after rebates and fed tax credit. 18 panels 240W each.

  • http://build-home-solar-panel.com willasrxsp

    u00a0Nowadays due to innovation, things back from the past gets less. Less cost but less benefits. Having expensive one could be great, you could cover up your loss after a months. You will be enjoying the full benefits of your system as well.nnGreat post. Keep sharing.

  • Kieran Mullen

    Mr. Ocean Yuan the owner of grape solar is just importing the items from China. (Just google it) Not really adding a whole lot of value. For the the price of the equipment on these systems you could actually get better equipment if people check around.

  • Urbane_Gorilla

    I’m looking at moving to Florida and was considering a solar rooftop installation for the sole purpose of running an Air Conditioner when the sun is out and the ambient temperature is the hottest.

    • SpiffySolarDotCom

      There are “solar air conditioners” on the market, but there is no sense in dedicating your solar to A/C alone. Solar electricity, just like what comes from the utility, is for any and all your electric needs. And with net metering, if you over-produce, the utility must give you credit for that excess.

    • jfreed27

      You will be glad your did Mr. Gorilla. Not only will it save you cash on your energy bill, but the panels act as a sun umbrella, which then keep the house much cooler.

      I know, because I installed 18 panels, and by office is far cooler now.

  • SpiffySolarDotCom

    These cooperative deals come and go constantly on the regional level at the various big box stores. The referral is what it’s all about. If the package is or is not appropriate for your situation, that doesn’t matter, the installer getting the lead is what it’s all about.