British Columbia–based Xantrex Technology and Atlantis Energy Systems of Sacramento, Calif., have formed an alliance that will make it easier and more affordable for home builders to install solar power systems on their houses, the companies say.

Under the agreement, Xantrex's Sun Tie XR Grid tie inverter and Atlantis' Sunslates photovoltaic roofing will be offered as a single package in a national program that will make it possible for builders to install solar power systems on their homes themselves.

Traditionally, builders used certified manufacturer reps to install solar panels. Instead of buying a roof and buying solar panels separately, builders across the country will now be able to do one-stop shopping, says Joe Morrissey, vice president of sales at Atlantis. “They will get a roofing material and a power generation system together,” he says. “But they will also save on labor and installation.”

According to Morrissey, a builder could install a conventional roof and have basic panels bolted onto the house for less, but this method has disadvantages. It results in an unattractive system, he says, and many roof warranties are voided once panel installers penetrate the roof. The builder also has to pay two subs: the roofer and the panel installer.

This new national program, on the other hand, is more efficient. Moreover, Atlantis says that the Sun Tie inverter is one of the best on the market and has a wide power window so if homeowners want to upgrade the panel system, they will not have to buy a new inverter box.