Eco-friendly homes are built to reduce our adverse impact on the environment as far as possible. Using less energy, and using clean, renewable energy, are central themes that are highlighted whenever green building is under discussion. But green building isn’t just for those who hope to reduce their impact on the environment.
A lower demand for resources like grid electricity also means financial savings, and even those who aren’t particularly concerned about reducing carbon emissions are buying in. They’re consulting experts, or using a simple but accurate online solar panel calculator to see just how soon their investment will pay for itself and start delivering financial benefits. But for many, aesthetics remain a sticking point. Simply put, a lot of homeowners worry that solar panels will make their homes look ugly.
Good design is key, and with a little extra information on solar panel aesthetics, we can hope to reconcile green energy with our design preferences. Here’s what you need to know.
New Solar Panels are Pretty Good Looking
Solar panel technology has improved considerably in the last decades. Not only are solar panels more efficient, they’re also a lot better-looking than they used to be. Those of us who are remembering the garish blue-and white grid pattern of the more traditional solar panels will be relieved to know that far more subtle variants are already on the market. That’s not counting the new Tesla solar shingles, which, though affordable, are still in the rollout process and aren’t available everywhere.
Depending on your existing or planned roof design, and the orientation of your home, you might not need to install solar panels in places where they’ll be obvious to observers. The main issue is that they need to catch the sun’s rays, even in winter – visibility may not be part of that equation.
Since several factors, including the skill of the solar installation company you choose, come into play, it’s best to ask questions first. Contact several reputable solar energy companies in your area, and ask them how they would go about installing solar panels so that they’re as unobtrusive as possible.
Turn Them Into a Feature
The opposite approach to hiding solar panels would be to turn them into a feature – even an artwork. And although companies, including an MIT award-winning startup are working on embedding images into solar panels, your solution need not be all that complex. A favorably-oriented patio with its roof bedecked with the new gloss-black solar panels can look quite attractive.
For some, the question of aesthetics is even less complex: it’s a case of “if you’ve got it, flaunt it.” They feel that their solar installations add value to their homes and make an important statement, and they’re not too worried if every passerby can see evidence of the solar installation.
Could it just be a matter of getting used to the look? And for that matter, how often do you, or other people, even look at your roof? Nevertheless, it is possible to turn photovoltaic cells into an attractive feature. Once again, it’s a matter of asking for professional advice and suggestions if you’re concerned about solar panel aesthetics.