Solar panels: The good, the bad, and the ugly…

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The look of solar panels on a roof can be a concern.

When Henry Ford introduced the automobile, the horse-and-buggy crowd hated cars, seeing them as ugly, uncomfortable, noisy, smelly and dangerous. But guess what? People bought cars because of the vast improvement and convenience that automobiles brought to their lives. And over time, vehicles became more aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, quiet, clean and safe.

So is the case with solar panels. Every year, panels, air conditioners and appliances become more efficient and less expensive, hence fewer panels are required to power a property, offering better value and less to look at. More attractive panels are also being offered. Tesla Solar Roof seamlessly replaces conventional roof tiles so that solar is integrated with the roof.

Homes with flat roofs and parapets around the perimeter provide the opportunity to hide the solar panels from a ground-level viewer. They also allow the panels to be precisely oriented and angled to maximize their ability to produce electricity from the sun in the most unobtrusive manner possible.

The design of panels continues to evolve with many choosing all-black panels as the most attractive to the eye. With these, the frame, back sheet, solar cells, cross-connectors and busbars all seamlessly blend into one black panel, giving a very sleek and uniform look.

Another option is to apply camouflaging film to the surface of the panels with the image of your choice. This could be to match the surrounding roof shingle or tile on a roof, or the ground surrounding an array. In a commercial project, this may even become the perfect place to display a company logo or advertising, much like a billboard.

For those with enough space on their property, a ground mount solar array, hidden away from sight, maybe the solution. Or it could be an in-plain-sight sunshade or carport which adds functionality through the deliberate placement of solar panels.

Those building a new home should always keep solar in mind during the design and construction phases. Not only ensuring plenty of unobstructed south exposure in which to install panels, but clever elements to have these panels hidden, blended in, or part of the shingle system.

One thing that is for certain, more solar panels show up on the scene every day. Whereas your home may have been the only one on the block, perhaps the neighborhood, to have solar, that certainly would not be the case for long.

So remember the Model-T and how even the most ardent carriage driver eventually came around to the automobile!

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