We've covered Armageddon Solar before. This is an update.
The five-employee firm is designing a lightweight hexagonal solar panel that simplifies installation and lowers installation cost. Since we last spoke with the firm, the startup has raised some corporate funding from Tyco Electronics and DuPont that has allowed them to refine their design and explore new channels to market.
As Michael Kanellos reported, Armageddon has devised a framing system and a lightweight solar panel that, effectively, can go straight from a few cardboard boxes to your roof. A single one-kilowatt solar system from Armageddon consists of a triangular frame, a micro-inverter and three lightweight silicon hexagonal solar panels. The 18 percent efficiency cells come from Suniva.
The clovers still have to be secured to the roof, angled toward the sun and plugged into the electrical system -- which works best when handled by professionals -- but much of the grunt work associated with conventional solar systems is already done.
The clovers are also lightweight. A single hexagonal solar panel weighs about 14 pounds. A conventional silicon solar panel might weigh 40 pounds. Lower weight means cheaper shipping, lower carbon taxes (where applicable) and a more rapid install. It's just easier for a guy to carry, according to the CEO, Mark Goldman.
The hexagonal panels weigh less than conventional panels because the cells are encased in a Teflon coating from DuPont rather than glass. The unique hexagonal design comes from the design expertise of a number of ex-IDEO design house people.
Armageddon is also building a device, akin to the SunEye, that does tilt azimuth measurement and a sky outline to aid installers in orienting the system and verifying solar resources.
Armageddon is in talks with a number of utilities, one who has suggested in passing that giving away systems for free to consumers as a peak shaving effort would be worth considering.
The price of the Solar Clover is $6.50 per watt installed before incentives and about $3.50 to $4.00 per watt installed after incentives depending on state. 1,500 people have expressed interest in the system.
The thrust is that Armageddon enables consumers to take a smaller 1,000-watt bite of solar instead of making a $30,000 and 5,000-watt commitment. The fact is that the panels have a more refined looking design than the barren industrial look of standard rectangular PV panels.
And the bottom line is that installation is much cheaper because of easier permitting, along with a much shorter sales cycle.
The firm is about begin UL testing. Goldman is hoping to sell 500 to 1,000 of the 1000-kilowatt (AC) systems this year. He's getting a bit of marketing help from Carbon Free Girl, Leilani Münter.
Earlier this week, we covered another early-stage firm, Clarian, with similar goals of making solar more available to consumers.