by Richard T. Stuebi
It’s notoriously the case that most photovoltaics installations are custom-tailored — designed, engineered and installed — specifically for each application. This, of course, dramatically increases the cost and hassle factor for a customer to implement PV. For awhile now, PV pundits have stressed that the technology needs to become “plug-and-play” in order to make it much easier and cheaper for customers to buy.
Recently, Cincinnati-based Melink Corporation released a 500 watt ground-mounted PV system with an embedded inverter and a 3-prong electrical cord that plugs into an outside socket, allowing anyone to generate electricity from the sun and use it to help power their house. Called “INGRID” (get it? “In-Grid”), this system costs less than $5000, and can be hooked up virtually immediately without any engineering. All you need (just like a satellite dish) is a clear view of the southern sky.
It’s so simple, basic and obvious that it’s a wonder that Melink was first to market (or at least claims to be first to market) in the year 2008 with such a gizmo. Innovation comes in all sorts of flavors.