Solar Skins Make Homes Beautiful and Sustainable
The cost of solar panels has dropped, which eliminates the barrier to renewable energy for many people.
While many are ready to forge ahead into a greener future, some are still reluctant due to the aesthetic factor. Solar panels have a distinctive look. They are usually installed on rooftops or on land atop metal frames. Their blue colour and large size make them highly visible.
This can be off-putting for homeowners who take pride in the appearance of their home’s exterior. The functionality and savings are well worth the installation cost, but there’s little that can be done about the visual aspect of standard solar panels.
What Are Solar Skins?
SolarSkin is the creation of Massachusetts Institute of Technology startup Sistine Solar. The patent-pending technology integrates custom designs into solar panels. This allows the surface to look like just about anything, from an image to a building material or texture.
The solar panels remain effective however the graphic causes a small loss of efficiency. Sistine Solar crafts its custom panels using brands like Hanwha, Samsung, Canadian Solar, Solaria, and LG.
When applied, SolarSkin panels can look like shingles, siding, stone, or any material you might find on a building. The array isn’t completely invisible. You can still see the edges of each panel since the equipment is sitting on top of the surface it is installed on, creating a shadowed edge.
The use of different colours and textures helps the panels blend so that they grab less attention and look like they belong as part of the architecture of the home.
Should I Install Solar Skins on My Home?
Solar panel skins sound like a great idea. There are a couple of things to keep in mind before you install.
First, there is a higher cost for the luxury of matching solar panels. You should expect to pay approximately 10% more for the project than you would without the custom graphics.
There is a slight efficiency loss when using SolarSkin. You can expect to lose between 1.8% and 3% efficiency. It’s a small decrease, but something homeowners should be aware of before they buy.
Sistine Solar co-founder Ido Salamato explained that “Using the high-efficiency brands, we’re getting very competitive projects.”
“Maybe a few customers ask about efficiency, but I’m not really sure if they understand the word. Solar panels look [the way] they do because scientists and engineers developed them for maximum efficiency and lowest cost. That’s different than what a homeowner thinks when they’re powering their home. Efficiency is an option, but they’re looking at what solves their entire need.”
Solar Skins are still a newer addition to the renewable market. Sistine Solar introduced its Design Studio in 2018, which allows homeowners to build customised panels.
If you are interested in learning more or scheduling an installation, let us know. Connect Electric can provide a quote. We are available to discuss your needs and create a plan that will keep your home looking amazing while it runs on renewable energy.