CAMPBELL, USA: Westinghouse Solar Inc., a designer and manufacturer of solar power systems, today announced that the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued the company its fourth US patent covering key aspects of its easy-to-install solar panels. The company currently has over 30 patents either issued or pending approval, including related patents issued in Australia, India, Korea and Mexico.
This latest patent, US #7,987,641, which was issued on August 2, 2011, relates to the company's Andalay technology, in which the racking and mounting components are integrated into the solar panel itself. Other related patents issued to Westinghouse Solar cover wiring and grounding for solar panels – features that are particularly important for "plug-and-play" AC panels. These patented features make Westinghouse Solar panels much more reliable and easy to install – thereby reducing costs for both installers and customers.
Since 2007, Westinghouse Solar has sold more than $100m worth of solar power systems using the Andalay technology. The Andalay technology is incorporated in the new 235 watt Westinghouse Solar AC panels – which are currently on the market at attractive price points. The Andalay technology is also at the core of Westinghouse Solar's Flat Roof Solar Power Systems, which are optimized for lightweight, non-penetrating installations on commercial rooftops.
"Our engineering team started developing this integrated solar panel technology in 2002, and we started filing for patents in 2004. At the time, solar panels were selling for $4 per watt and nobody really cared about reducing installation costs. Now with solar panel pricing down in the $1.50 per watt range, reducing installation costs are widely perceived as the biggest opportunity to reduce overall system costs and increase margins," said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Westinghouse Solar.
"We expect that our growing portfolio of intellectual property related to solar panels with built-in racking, wiring and grounding will become increasingly valuable both to us and our licensees."