For DIYers, Solar Panels Come to Lowe's


Many homeowners have shied away from solar panels because of their cost and complexity. But the the sunlight-catching panels are starting to come down to earth.

Home improvement retailer Lowe's recently began selling ready-to-install solar panels on the shelves at some its California stores, making it one of the first places to sell solar panels directly to homeowners.

Lowe's says the solar panels, made by Akeena Solar, are more consumer-friendly than traditional panels. "The system is a lot simpler and a lot safer than most solar panels out there," said Steve Salazar, a Lowe's spokesman. Still, while an experienced do-it-yourselfer can probably install the $893 panels, Lowe's recommends that buyers talk with a professional installer, hire an electrician and have a contractor pull the proper city permits.

Home Depot, the Lowe's rival that President Obama recently chose to discuss plans to encourage homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient, sells solar panels on its web site, but they are aimed more at contractors that consumers.