04/15/2011 01:10 pm ET Updated Jun 15, 2011

Costco To Sell Home Solar Panel Kits

From EarthTechling's Caleb Denison:

Costco members will soon be able to add solar power systems for clean energy solutions at home alongside power tools and pancake mix on their shopping lists.

Eugene, Oregon-based Grape Solar has recently announced that several of its solar kits will soon be available through Costco’s website in the ”Hardware” section under the "Generators & Backup Power" subcategory. Costco members will have a choice of 880W, 2300W, 3680W or 5060W ready-to-install kits, with prices ranging from around $3,600 upwards to around $18,000.

The solar kits are “grid-tied” systems that include Grape Solar panels, inverters, and racking systems that are ready to install onto the roofs of homes and other structures. Grape Solar says the kits are designed to be expandable, so customers can start small and grow their system over time if they wish. In order to facilitate installation, Grape Solar has developed a network of over 5,000 installers who will be available to provide locally based customer support.

According to Grape Solar, it launched a test program in several markets starting in July of 2010. Customer response was apparently positive, so the program was expanded to include other warehouses in high-demand solar markets. Once the products are available on-line, they can be ordered and delivered to a buyer’s home in just a few days.

Grape Solar’s panels come with a 25-year warranty on power output and a 10-year warranty on materials and workmanship. All of the home solar kits should be eligible for federal, state and local utility rebate and incentive programs, but it would be wise to ask first if unsure.