While they’re marketed on the company’s website as DIY solar kits, John Bucher, Peak Solar vice president, said that hasn’t been the primary audience for the solar kits up to now.
“We’re not suggesting people don’t use an installer,” Bucher said.
Peak Solar’s primary market for the kits has been solar installation companies. While installers might have all the expertise they need to design a system from scratch and collect all the pieces and parts from different sources, Peak Solar has made it easier for them. All of the components come together, matched and with instructions for easy installation.
“It’s a turnkey system that can go up in a weekend,” Bucher said.
That simplifies things for installers and clients. While installers have historically made up Peak Solar’s customer base for the last three years, that’s starting to change.
Most states still require a licensed installer, Bucher said. But some states, like California, have loosened the regulations. And it’s a good thing, Bucher said.
“We have a lot of customers, especially in hot markets like California, who are being price gauged by the installers,” Bucher said. “They’re frustrated and want to be able to negotiate with the installers.”
Having the option to install an easy-to-assemble kit yourself and maybe have an electrician put the finishing touches on the work gives customers new options and more leverage.
“I’ve heard of California installers quoting customer $6 a watt,” Bucher said. “That’s price gouging.”
Peak Solar sells kits starting at $1,39 per watt and he said even with professional installation, it shouldn’t cost the customer more than $3 per watt, especially in communities with streamlined permitting.
As the market evolves and more states allow DIY solar, Peak Solar expects its kits could become increasingly popular.