Akeena Solar Inc (Nasdaq:AKNS), a national designer, installer and distributor of solar power systems, today announced a distribution partnership with Ontario-based Highland Solar to sell the company’s award-winning Andalay AC solar panel system throughout Canada. According to terms of the agreement, Highland Solar will sell at least 1.75 megawatts of Andalay AC solar panels in Canada through 2010 through its network of local installation partners.
“Canada is shaping up to be a large market for rooftop solar with their generous new renewable energy programs in Ontario and other provinces,” said Barry Cinnamon, Akeena Solar CEO. “With our distribution agreement with Highland Solar, Andalay AC solar panels will now be available to Canadian homeowners eager to lower their electricity bills with safe, reliable solar panels that look like skylights.”
Andalay AC panels have built-in racking, wiring, grounding and inverters, reducing the overall parts count by 80 percent. Andalay’s award-winning technology safeguards against performance-threatening breakdowns and delivers optimum performance with 5 to 25 percent more energy output compared to ordinary DC solar panels. Since Andalay AC solar panels produce household AC power, they eliminate complicated and dangerous DC wiring and provide a safer and easier installation process to solar installers, trades workers and do-it-yourselfers.
The Andalay system is one of the first solar power systems to meet Ontario’s provincial content requirements, which require 40 percent of the content of solar systems to be sourced from Ontario. Ontario’s Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) provides generators of renewable energy a 20-year contract at a guaranteed price. Under the micro-FIT program, which includes solar systems of 10 kilowatts or less, homeowners are paid 80.2 cents for each kWh produced.
“Andalay AC is the perfect solar panel for Canadian homeowners,” said Highland Solar President Sean McCrae. “Not only is Andalay AC manufactured with parts sourced in Ontario, it also installs quickly and safely, has superior looks and reliably delivers clean solar power throughout its lifetime.”
Highland has manufactured its own brand of solar products since 2005, but the signing of this manufacturing license agreement with Akeena Solar is Highland’s first opportunity to manufacture products and create jobs within its home province. To help address the anticipated demand for the Andalay system, the company has leased a training facility and plans to provide hands on solar installation training to contracting companies.
The announcement marks the largest distribution partnership Akeena Solar has signed to date and the company’s first distribution arrangement outside of the United States. Since launching its direct-to-installers sales channels for Andalay systems six months ago, Akeena has expanded its distribution network to include 42 installers in 19 states. This partnership follows a recent award naming Andalay AC solar panels as a “2009 Breakthrough Product of the Year” by Popular Mechanics.