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Solar Panel Aesthetics

Hey Good Looking! Solar panels are no longer the ugly duckling of renewable energy.

The most common objection to Solar PV is that people don’t like the look of the panels. In fact, many in the industry believe that aesthetics have been one of the biggest reasons more people haven’t taken up what is so obviously a good deal: make money, reduce your bills, go greener.

It’s a win-win-win, so what’s stopping you? Well, in the past it might have been the Henry Ford approach to choice: ‘You can have any colour you want, as long as it’s black’. But no more. The options available on the market today mean you no longer have to juggle between efficiency and looks.

Silver Frame, White Backing, Wires

Normally cheapest in a manufacturer’s range.  The aluminium frame is silver coloured and the backing sheet, also visible between the cells, is white. Because they’re quite industrial looking, these basic panels are very popular in inner-city settings, fitting in well with the current ‘industrial chic’ trend. They look particularly good on metal roofs in high-density urban landscapes, so if you’ve got a warehouse to power, these are the best of all worlds: cheap, chic and high energy.

Black Frame, White Backing, No Wires

Don’t like that griddy look? With Sunpower’s Maxeon technology, all the bus bars (wires) are at the back of the cells. This improves both performance and aesthetics. So why isn’t everyone doing it? Well, it’s patented technology and it costs more to produce, which means these panels are more expensive than your average. But, they more than repay you over their lifetime, and in many cases end up being less expensive in the long term, due to better build quality and exceptional power generation.

Older and lighter grey slate roofs look great with Sunpower panels. When you’re stood back from the property, the white backing sheet combined with the wireless black frame array, gives them a complementary grey sheen.

All Black, Wires

Replacing the white backing sheet with a black one can improve the look of the panels, making them seem less obvious. But the flip side is it can affect performance due to increased operating temperatures.

Black panels with black backing are great for traditional slate roofs when you’re still working to an average budget. Viewed from a distance the panels blend in to the roof though, close up, the pinstripe of the bus bars is still visible.

In-Roof Solar PV mounting

You can choose to set your PV panels flush with the roof, using them to actually replace sections of your roof fabric. In-roof or integrated systems typically add around 10% to the overall installation costs. These costs can be offset against the reduced need for roof fabric. Performance is typically lower by around 5% due to the reduced ventilation of an in-roof system. (All Solar PV systems need good ventilation for optimum efficiency.) Trying to work out the pros and cons of these systems can be very tricky and often puts people off.

In-Roof Solar PV is becoming increasing popular across the board. It can look very discreet and the efficiency loss compared to standard Solar PV is much smaller than it used to be and improving all the time. But if you’re planning a new build, it really should be one of the first options you consider. In Roof Solar Panels can actually reduce the cost of roofers and slates/tiles while looking like they were meant to be there all along

Whether you’re the proud owner of a Georgian manor, building your own modern masterpiece or simply want something on your roof that doesn’t look like a helipad for aliens, there are choices available to suit your design and enable you to generate your own energy, reduce your CO2e and still bling your roof.

In future, you may look upwards towards a roof and you’ll not be able to tell if a roof cover is generating electricity or not! Our hope is that it will be, from a green, renewable source.

This blog was provided by Cornwall Solar Panels