Lowes is going to begin offering install-it-yourself solar panels beginning next year. The $893-panels, made by Akeena Solar, easily install on the roof with two bolts, and weigh about 40 pounds a piece. Installation is only the first step, however. Permits usually need to be acquired for installation (even for do-it-yourselfers) and hooking the panel up to your in-house electrical grid should be handled by a licensed electrician.
One panel will produce enough power to keep a large-screen television running, so we’re not talking about a lot of power here. I think the real value is that by making solar so easily and readily available, it levels the playing field a bit. If solar is available easily to the common man, then who needs all the overhead of hiring a firm to do the work for you? An advanced do-it-yourselfer could potentially handle the installation easily, making a nice dent in their electric bill. When alternative forms of energy can be acquired easily and within a reasonable cost, ultimately they become affordable for a much larger part of the population.
Ultimately, our survival as a planet depends on finding alternative sources of energy. Every little step towards that future is something to be cheering on.