The best solar companies understand that reason why so many people have trouble adopting solar panels is that they don’t look so good. If you’re one of those people, then you have probably always wondered how to get solar panels that don’t have to look big and out of place. Well, this might be the year where you finally find solutions to the aesthetics problem in the solar panel market.
To start with, there are plenty of companies out there that sell designs that are seamless or frameless, and the photovoltaic cells look like they’re pretty much floating on the surface of your rood. This might not seem like much of a jump, but it is a step in the right direction, and it is only the simplest of solutions currently beginning to appear on the market.
Tesla’s Solar Roof System
Tesla, the electric car company known for its beautiful and efficient cars and its superstar CEO, Elon Musk, recently launched the Solar Roof system. The innovation with this system is that there are solar roof tiles that completely replace your regular shingles and tiles. They are made out of tempered quartz glass, which is capable of withstanding three times the storm force that conventional roof tiles will withstand. They also come with a lifetime warranty. Where else do you get a lifetime warranty on your solar panels and still get something that pretty much replaces your roof?
The Solar Roof system is more expensive than conventional solar panels, granted, but it is worth it, considering the visual appeal of the system. The system was rolled out last year by SolarCity, which is owned by Tesla and began its pilot offering in California. It is expected to expand to other parts of the United States later this year.
This is an Italy based company that wants to make “invisible” solar roof tiles in a retrofit style. The idea is to make roof tiles that are practically indistinguishable from the traditional stone, wood or terra cotta roofing. The roofing itself looks opaque but will let the sun’s rays through easily.
Sistine Solar is based in Boston and is developing a solar product that behaves like a skin of sorts. The “solar skin” is meant to match whatever the underlying roofing material is. These MIT-designed tiles are supposed to match the material of the roofing below by reflecting it back out while still letting the sunlight through to the photovoltaic cells inside. They are a kind of camouflaged solar panel, and they only cost about 10 percent more than your average solar panel.
Solar Window Technologies and Sunflare
These two companies are thinking out of the box and going beyond the typical rooftop panel option. Solar Window Technologies is based in Maryland and is developing invisible coatings for windows with very small solar cells that will convert both natural and artificial light into electricity. Sunflare, on the other hand, is based in California and is pioneering a revolutionary thin-film photovoltaic cell that can be fixed onto any surface.