Any feedback on this company?

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Geek
Geek Solar Expert Posts: 32
I live in CT and Akeena (headquarter in CA) will be installing a 5.5kw system soon (175w/panel) , they use proprietary systems from Andalay.

Any experiences with them and Andalay systems?

Comments

  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: Any feedback on this company?

    I did a quick look, and did not see which GT inverter they were using... I would be very careful of an off-brand.

    Also, I would be also careful of "proprietary" connections of solar panels... If you need to replace a couple years down the road (rocks, hail, just bad luck)--you may be hard pressed to find a replacement panel that you can wire into your current array...

    Other than the above, I know nothing about the company and their products.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Geek
    Geek Solar Expert Posts: 32
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    Re: Any feedback on this company?

    they will install a:
    Sunny Boy SMA SB5000US (240V) inverter

    and

    30 Andalay ST175-1 Integrated Solar Power System modules

    Andalay arrays is supposed to be a great option since the installation from panel to panel is male-female and there's no wires hanging in the array.

    There are some posts about Akeena Solar in the News forum section.

    ..
  • Geek
    Geek Solar Expert Posts: 32
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    Re: Any feedback on this company?

    Andalay panels feature built-in racking, wiring and grounding.
    See here:

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/story?id=51843&src=rss

    my system is being installed soon, even though we will connect in Jan. 09 due to new tax rebate incentive.

    ..
  • solartek
    solartek Solar Expert Posts: 69 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Any feedback on this company?

    Andalay panels were designed by Akeena, but are manufactured for them by others (I think Kyocera and/or Suntech). So far, they are not available to any one else in the US. I believe they are available outside of the US.
  • Geek
    Geek Solar Expert Posts: 32
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    Re: Any feedback on this company?
    solartek wrote: »
    Andalay panels were designed by Akeena, but are manufactured for them by others (I think Kyocera and/or Suntech). So far, they are not available to any one else in the US. I believe they are available outside of the US.

    I think it's Kyocera.
    Any feedback on them, overall?

    ..
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: Any feedback on this company?

    Kyocera makes fine panels... They had an "oops" back round 2001-2001 in their ~125 watt panels (failures after a year or three in use)--but they stood behind their warranty and replaced them without much hassle (from what I have read).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Any feedback on this company?

    bill just had an oops as it was their 120w pvs.:D
  • Geek
    Geek Solar Expert Posts: 32
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    Re: Any feedback on this company?

    I hope to see some feedback on Akeena's Andaley system overall.....

    thanks...
  • Roderick
    Roderick Solar Expert Posts: 253 ✭✭
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    Re: Any feedback on this company?

    I've never heard direct feedback on the Andalay system. Please let us know how it goes.

    It sounds like you've already signed, so this may be a moot point, but in general, it's best to get several bids for a system. 5.5 kW is a good size, so there should be multiple companies hungry for the business.

    Also, I don't know when your install is scheduled, but you do know that the new Federal tax credit takes effect January 1st, right? Let's say you're paying $5 a watt for your system. Then your tax credit would be $6600 if the system is turned on in 2009, but only $2000 if it goes into service Dec 31st, 2008 or earlier. If you're paying $10 a watt, the tax credit in January is $13,200 vs. the same $2000. An extra $10,000 will buy a lot of electricity, or a lot more panels, if you view it that way.
  • Geek
    Geek Solar Expert Posts: 32
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    Re: Any feedback on this company?
    Roderick wrote: »
    I've never heard direct feedback on the Andalay system. Please let us know how it goes.

    It sounds like you've already signed, so this may be a moot point, but in general, it's best to get several bids for a system. 5.5 kW is a good size, so there should be multiple companies hungry for the business.

    Also, I don't know when your install is scheduled, but you do know that the new Federal tax credit takes effect January 1st, right? Let's say you're paying $5 a watt for your system. Then your tax credit would be $6600 if the system is turned on in 2009, but only $2000 if it goes into service Dec 31st, 2008 or earlier. If you're paying $10 a watt, the tax credit in January is $13,200 vs. the same $2000. An extra $10,000 will buy a lot of electricity, or a lot more panels, if you view it that way.

    To be precise I'm getting 30 panels 175w each, so that makes a 5.25kw system.
    For the new tax rebate for next year, I am being told that what matters is the interconnection to the grid. My system is scheduled for installation at end of this month BUT we will hold off to "turn it on" until Jan.09 so I qualify for the new tax incentive.

    Is this true that what REALLY matters is the interconnection date and NOT the when the system is installed?

    Can some experts in the area please confirm ASAP...!!!!:confused:
  • solartek
    solartek Solar Expert Posts: 69 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Any feedback on this company?
    Geek wrote: »
    I think it's Kyocera.
    Any feedback on them, overall?

    ..

    Hey Geek,

    Just an FYI. I went by the Akeena both this week while I was at the Solar Power International conference in San Diego. I looked at the Andalay panels on display and they were manufactured by Suntech.
  • Geek
    Geek Solar Expert Posts: 32
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    Re: Any feedback on this company?
    solartek wrote: »
    Hey Geek,

    Just an FYI. I went by the Akeena both this week while I was at the Solar Power International conference in San Diego. I looked at the Andalay panels on display and they were manufactured by Suntech.

    ok, thanks, did you see the connections on the panels, how was it overall?
  • solartek
    solartek Solar Expert Posts: 69 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Any feedback on this company?

    From the front the panels look identical to a SunTech Black Label panel (and are probably identical electrically). From the back, the electrical connections look okay. It was not quite as sophisticated as I originally expected. They added connection ports to the long side of the panels and plugged the multi-connector wires from a standard junction box on the panel into the side ports. They use a long threaded rod on the top and bottom of the panels to pull the panels together and give structural support. The threaded rod is also used as an integrated ground. I'm not sure if the structure would meet Florida's wind requirements (which is where I'm located). But I don't see anything that would make me worry about using them in low wind areas.

    Akeena has set it up so that only they can use these panels in the US. SunTech sells them outside the US as their "QuickSnap" product.