May 18 2010
Marrying one of the most famous consumer brands in the world with the most innovative name in solar power, Akeena Solar (Nasdaq:AKNS), a leading installer and manufacturer of high-performance solar panels, has entered into an exclusive worldwide agreement to manufacture, distribute, market and install its solar panels under the Westinghouse name.
The Westinghouse partnership is a validation of Akeena's award-winning technology that integrates the brains of a solar energy system into the solar panel itself, reducing the parts count by 80 percent and improving performance and reliability. Akeena's alternating-current (AC) systems are safer and produce up to 25 percent more energy than ordinary direct-current (DC) panels.
As solar purchasers move from early adopters to mainstream consumers, a lack of brand recognition derails buyers. This agreement directly addresses that issue, combining a trusted brand name with the reliability, performance and safety that buyers want.
"Partnering with Westinghouse moves us one giant step closer to the goal we've had since I founded Akeena: installing solar panels on every sunny rooftop," said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Akeena Solar.
Added Cinnamon, "Since the beginning, we've worked consistently to make solar more mainstream. We began as a rooftop installer. We then designed our own easy-to-install solar panels that gave customers superior reliability and aesthetics. We improved our design by manufacturing higher-performance AC panels, and built a dealer network that has grown to more than 25 states and Canada. We then partnered with Lowe's Home Improvement stores for installation services, along with the first do-it-yourself solar panels stocked on retail shelves.
"Now, with the exclusive rights to the Westinghouse Solar brand, we look forward to accelerated growth without large up-front brand investments," concluded Cinnamon.
"Since George Westinghouse founded the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1886, the world's electric grid has operated on AC power," said James F. Davis, vice president, Westinghouse Electric Corp. "For more than 100 years, Westinghouse has literally set the standard for reliable electric power and home appliances. We approached Akeena when our research indicated their integrated solar-panel technology could help make solar mainstream. Akeena's safe and reliable AC solar panels are a perfect complement with Westinghouse's heritage. We are pleased to introduce Westinghouse Solar as the newest member of the exclusive Westinghouse family."
As part of the Westinghouse transition, Akeena's wholly-owned subsidiary Andalay Solar will be renamed Westinghouse Solar. This Westinghouse Solar subsidiary will manage the design, manufacturing and distribution of Akeena's award-winning AC solar panels. Akeena Solar, the California-based parent company and its authorized dealers, including Lowe's Home Improvement stores, will have the exclusive rights to install Westinghouse Solar panels.
Westinghouse-branded solar panels will begin shipping to customers in the U.S. and Canada later this summer.