The benefits of solar panels to homeowners are pretty clear at this point. From creating clean, renewable energy to paying for themselves over time, they are increasingly becoming a priority for modern homeowners. However, some people still get hung up on the aesthetic aspect of solar panels on their roofs. While solar panels continue to get smaller, more efficient, and less conspicuous each year, our experts at gogreensolar.com recommend the following 7 tips for helping your solar panels blend in.
1. Surround Them With Foliage
A straightforward way to camouflage a traditional solar panel installation is by placing trees in strategic areas around the property. This will block them from the view of casual observers without requiring you to perform any major alterations to your home.
The most significant drawbacks to this approach are that it will take a while for trees to mature enough to provide adequate veiling for the top of a roof, and you will always want to keep the south-facing side of your roof free from any type of shade.
Some homeowners may be concerned that having any trees around the property will limit solar production. While solar panels work from sunrise to sunset, the output at dawn and dusk is a fraction of the energy produced during peak solar hours, which are generally between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM for most areas of the country. So if you have some trees planted along the east or west side of your property that block the sun early or late in the day, you can feel confident that they hide your solar panels from streetside views without significantly undermining energy production.
2. Perform a Roofing Upgrade
Another great way to help solar panels blend in is to perform a roofing upgrade simultaneous to a solar installation. As most solar systems are black, it is best to choose a dark roofing option to pair with your panels. Asphalt shingles, composite roofing tiles, and metal are three products that not only blend in well with most solar panels, but also provide a flush, even surface that is ideal for anchoring the solar system.
3. Plan the Orientation of Your Home
If you are adding solar panels to an existing house, there is not much you can do about the orientation. Street location is also out of your hands.
However, if you are in the process of planning a new build, make sure that the orientation is conducive to solar installation. Build the house so that the backyard faces south to ensure that only you and your neighbors will ever have to see the solar panels.
4. Choose a Less Prominent Location
Sometimes, there is just no convenient place to install solar panels. If you live on a property where planting trees is not feasible or if you have a home with a south-facing orientation, your options for veiling are going to be a bit limited.
When this is the case, see if you can install the solar panels on a garage or other outbuilding that you may have on the property. Even though the panels may still be noticeable on these buildings, it is usually a bit more aesthetically acceptable to have a building other than the main house with an irregular roof. If there is no option other than installing them on your house itself, try to make sure that they are as centered as possible to make them look like a planned addition as opposed to a random growth.
5. Install Solar Shingles
If you are willing to spend a little extra money on solar, there are some exciting technological innovations that can make solar installation itself less noticeable. One of these is the implementation of solar native roofing tiles. These tiles are fabricated with photovoltaic technology but are nearly indistinguishable from regular roofing tiles. They do not protrude as an attachment like traditional panels. The knock on solar shingles used to be that the output was poor and the lifespan was short, but the technology is steadily improving, making them a strong choice for solar aficionados who place a priority on aesthetics.
6. Pay attention to Solar Panel Color
Another direct way to camouflage solar panels is through the application of a solar skin. This is a great option for homes with roofs that contrast significantly with solar panels. Solar skins come in a variety of colors and designs that can help them blend in with a wide range of roofing types. While homeowners may be concerned about how solar skins impact the efficiency of their solar panels, fear not–the latest solar skin technology filters out very little light and energy, allowing skin-treated panels to achieve up to 99% of the efficiency of a non-treated system.
If solar skins are not the direction you want to go, a great way for homeowners to change the visual impact of a solar array is to go with all-black panels. Every surface of the panel is black- no silver frame or electrical hardware so the array does not “call attention to itself”. GoGreenSolar and professional installers nationwide use this approach to mitigate the visual impact.
7. Consider Building Integrated Photovoltaics
The most technologically advanced method of hiding solar panels comes in the form of building integrated photovoltaics. Instead of concentrating all PV cells on the roof, BIPV strategically adds PV technology to all aspects of the home’s exterior, including the roof, facade, and windows. While this is a more expensive option, the more even distribution of PV panels throughout the house is far less noticeable than a large colony placed on the roof.
Make Your Solar Panels Less Conspicuous With These 7 Ideas
Despite the many benefits of solar panels, some homeowners continue to get hung up on the aesthetics. If you are anxious to add solar panels to your home but want to make them as inconspicuous as possible, choose from the aforementioned list of ideas to help your solar panels blend in seamlessly!