Solar energy for self-consumption is a growing trend. Lidl is once again set to disrupt the market by offering a high-quality product at a reduced price. This launch is causing a stir all across Europe and garnering significant interest.
Lidl has already proven its ability to generate buzz. After the discounted kitchen robot and a fashion collection that sold out and still resells at a high price, the German retailer is now launching a self-consumption solar panel kit priced at $199. Generally, the market for such products begins at over $600.
A Comprehensive Offer
The Parksid PBKW 300 A1 Smart takes the form of a kit to assemble and then install on a balcony railing. To attach it to a wall or place it on the ground, you will need to utilize your DIY skills.
The kit consists of a photovoltaic panel measuring 107 x 77.5 x 3.5 cm (including the aluminum frame) and weighing 8.9 kg.
Lidl offers a 3-year warranty for the kit, a 10-year warranty for the panels and transformation equipment. The advertised yield of the panels is 20%, and they are expected to retain 80% of their energy efficiency after 25 years. On paper, it is estimated that it will take 6 to 8 years to pay for itself in the USA compared to 6 years in Germany.
A Micro-Inverter That Raises Questions
The panels, which do not specify their origin, seem to have a very commendable build quality based on initial feedback. However, the Plug&Play aspect is somewhat oversold. The micro-inverter, to be attached to the panel frame, is equipped with Wi-Fi and is IP65 certified. This allows you to set the inverter’s network connection via the Lidl Home app to access all of its statistics.
It appears that this micro-inverter may not fully comply with French legislation regarding certain certifications related to the ENEDIS distributor. However, with a power of 150 Wp, this should not pose any real issues for use, but it should be noted. One of the most frequent feedback from German customers primarily concerns its quality, which seems very entry-level.
A Tempting Offer That Needs Contextualizing
This offer is very attractive on paper, but several points need to be nuanced. The production power is 150 Wp, and if you purchase a second one to mount in series, you will reach 300 Wp for a total of $398. However, there are alternatives available at equivalent prices, between $350 and $450, offering a power of 300 Wp to 350 Wp.
Still, this product has been selling like hotcakes in Germany, where the price of electricity is about 10 cents more per kWh. It remains to be seen if this offer will be extended to other parts of Europe and particularly to the USA. In any case, the price will be higher, as the inverter’s compliance will come at a cost, and most importantly, solar panels in Germany are not subject to VAT. In the USA, the 20% VAT will have to be applied, which seems truly absurd in this period of ecological transition.
This is a product that should be closely watched. Despite its flaws, it’s a pioneering product and it could inspire healthy aspirations to become a producer of green energy.