solar panel design ideas

5 solar panel design ideas for your home

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Home designs that incorporate solar energy systems are becoming more common (especially with solar panel grants). You can help the environment, save money on utility bills, and prepare your home for the future all at the same time by switching to solar energy. Solar panel roofing is a significant technological development in solar panel design. Advanced modules can easily meet about half of a house's annual energy needs by transforming sunlight into electricity. 

Solar panels have come a long way in terms of efficiency and cost-effectiveness in recent years. Moreover, you now have a larger pool of possibilities from which to pick. There is a wide variety of solar panel designs available, so you can find one that suits your taste and budget with relative ease.

Mounted panels

Currently, solar panels with a mounting system for roof attachment are the most popular solar panel design type. With this setup, solar panels can be installed on existing roofs and other surfaces. If you want to save money and time by avoiding extensive roof renovations, mounted panels are a good choice.

Monocrystalline solar panels are the most popular solar panel design type among residential customers. It's not uncommon for their efficiency to top 20%. The expensive and time-consuming process of creating monocrystalline panels involves slicing a single crystal of silicon into wafers. A finished panel can have 60, 72, or 96 cells and is black in color. These cells have rounded corners. The sleek appearance of black panels is sometimes the deciding factor for buyers. The high cost is the primary disadvantage of monocrystalline panels. They may be more efficient, but this does not always translate into a shorter payback period.

Thin film solar panels

Comparing thin-film solar panels to other solar panel designs reveals significant differences. Producing them involves coating a sheet of glass or metal with a photovoltaic material. Thin-film panels are the cheapest and easiest to install thanks to cutting-edge technology that has reduced production costs. Although theoretically thin, the actual thickness of these panels varies by substrate and design. When compared to conventional solar panels, they offer the added benefits of being lightweight and flexible. Different models of thin-film solar panels have different exteriors, with some being black and others being blue.

Solar shingles

While mounted solar panels are more common, shingles are a relatively new solar panel design.  Whether you need a new roof or are planning an addition, solar shingles can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice. Although solar shingles have not yet reached the efficiency of PV panels, they far surpass panels in terms of visual appeal. But that doesn't mean you can't make your roof look great with other solar panel design types. All it takes is a little ingenuity to make your roof shine with any kind of solar panels.

There are some people who can't install PV panels on their roofs because of local building codes and weight restrictions. Since solar shingles can be installed in place of your existing shingles, they are a practical solution that should be compliant with most building codes.

Photovoltaic slates

You can add these on top of your current asphalt shingles or incorporate them into a new solar panel roof design. These are a variant of the solar shingles we discussed earlier. One of the best features of these solar slates is that they can be designed to mimic the look and feel of traditional slates, down to the color palette. They can be used to completely reroof a house while still giving it the classic appearance and feel that you're used to.

The fact that solar photovoltaic slates require little to no upkeep is yet another reason to use them. Since there are no moving parts, there is no need to fret about deterioration or failure due to age or corrosion. Only a light cleaning here and there is necessary, especially in the fall and winter.

Solar canopies

For a new roof or to supplement an existing one, these are not the best option. Still, solar canopies may be the right solar panel design if you're looking for a speedy and aesthetically pleasing method to bring solar power into your home. They are great for building carports and patios, allowing you to take advantage of solar power even if you can't install PV modules on your roof.

Canopies come in a wide range of sizes and can be angled in different ways to absorb as much sunlight as possible. These structures typically produce around 2.5 kWh of energy, which is enough to significantly reduce your home's power needs or maintain the operation of an electric vehicle. However, there are even more powerful solar panels for home that can offset 100% of your energy usage.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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