By Chris Kahn, AP Energy Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Solar technology is going where it has never gone before: onto the shelves at retail stores where do-it-yourselfers can now plunk a panel into a shopping cart and bring it home to install.
Lowe's has begun stocking solar panels at its California stores and plans to roll them out across the country next year.
This shows how far the highest of the high-tech alternative energy technologies has come. Solar power is now accessible to anyone with a ladder, a power drill and the gumption to climb up on a roof and install the panels themselves.
For Lowe's, it's an opening into a new and potentially lucrative DIY business.
"There's definitely a growing market for this with the number of people moving toward energy efficient homes," spokesman Steven Salazar said.
Buyer be warned, however. The DIY part of solar goes beyond installation.
Professional installers typically handle all the necessary paperwork, like clearance from the local utility and applications for a bevy of government subsidies that can make the system a whole lot cheaper."You put solar panels on your roof without a permit, bad things happen to you," said Jeff Wolfe, CEO of solar installer groSolar. "The utility could shut off the power."