When you think of one of the best energy-saving improvements you can make to your home, installing solar panels is probably the first one that comes to mind. Using solar power helps you conserve energy and spend less money on monthly bills. But solar panels aren’t always as attractive as they are beneficial. The gleaming, cumbersome panels may add value to your home and draw prospective buyers, but they sure can spoil curb appeal if you don’t like the way they look. Here are a few ideas for keeping solar panels from dominating your home’s appearance.
Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are the latest in sleek solar solutions. These systems do more than provide an integrated system for harnessing renewable energy—the materials used to make them can replace conventional building materials in order to blend into a structural facade.
One of the best building-integrated (or building-applied) solutions for homeowners is the use of photovoltaic shingles. Not only are these materials slimmer than traditional solar panels, they are specifically designed to look like asphalt shingles. A single shingle doesn’t generate as much power as a single traditional photovoltaic panel. Therefore, some people might prefer to cover their entire roof with photovoltaic shingles. But even if you only cover a certain area of your roof, the solar shingles can offer a much more coherent look than the boxier alternative of traditional panels.
Solar shingles are a cutting-edge option right now, they are a more expensive solution than traditional panels. However, if you’re worried about the cost, wait a few years—advancements in solar energy will continue to make these systems more accessible to the residential market.
If photovoltaic shingles are a little outside of your budget, there’s an even simpler solution: solar canopies. These small, flat-roofed structures that hold solar panels on top are a clever alternative to covering your roof with conspicuous panels. You can design a solar canopy to create shade in your garden, or an awning over your porch to expand your comfortable living space. You can even construct a carport covered in solar panels to shelter and shade your vehicles.
Another building-integrated option can bring the beauty of modern design to both the interior and exterior of your house. Photovoltaic skylights are one of the sleekest sunlight-harvesting solutions because they enable you to fully embrace the appearance of solar panels on your roof. They also add an aesthetic quality indoors by allowing natural sunlight into your home.