Within the next ten years, it is predicted that one in seven homes in the US will be fitted with photovoltaic (PV) panels that convert sunlight into electric power. Solar panels provide low-cost, renewable energy and are growing in popularity as they become easier to install at a more affordable price. In the past, some homeowners have been put off by the appearance of solar panels on their roof. However, innovative designs, together with flexible and versatile installations, mean that solar panels can be fitted unobtrusively in a variety of locations without compromising on style or efficiency.

Integrating Solar Panels

The main criteria for choosing the right solar panels include efficiency and cost, as homeowners want to know that the investment they are making will provide them with the best savings on their energy. When making an informed decision about solar panels, customers now have a greater choice of designs to pick from in order to also maximize the visual appeal of the installation. Choosing an all black panel without a conspicuous silver frame results in a sleeker and less obtrusive roof installation. In addition, an alternative to placing panels on the roof of a house is to look for other large surface areas such as the top of a carport where they will be less visible.  While a standard carport provides protection for vehicles, a solar carport with an integrated PV roof exposed to high levels of sunlight doubles up as an almost invisible source of energy for the home.

 Alternative Installations Add to the Aesthetic Appeal of Solar Panels

Fitting Solar Shingles

Where alternative locations are not available, a roof composed of solar shingles is now a possibility for consumers of solar energy.  Rather than covering attractive tiles with large solar panels, the roof is constructed using individual solar shingles. Although the technology has been around for over 15 years, solar shingles have only recently become available for residential consumers. They use the same technology as larger panels but while they are quicker to install they are flexible and slightly less efficient as they can’t be tilted to ensure maximum exposure to the sun.

Installing a Solar Driveway

Solar panels don’t always have to be placed on a roof in order to produce energy. PV panels on the ground don’t rely on the pitch of a roof and so can be angled to optimize energy efficiency. However, on a small plot, a large array of PV panels can take up a lot of space and look unsightly. An alternative solution is a new development in harnessing solar energy which uses recycled bottles to create a paved area that absorbs solar radiation. When integrated seamlessly into a residential driveway, the solar panels can be used to create energy for the home or to charge an electric car.

Powering a property with solar energy is growing in popularity with homeowners. With greater diversity in design and increasingly flexible methods of installation, residents can now benefit from low cost renewable energy without compromising on style.

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