Soon we will be able to say goodbye to the old, decidedly unsightly solar panels.
Photovoltaic technology is finally evolving towards proposals with a more appealing design, to satisfy the growing demand for integrated solutions to architecture.
Given the legal provisions that oblige new buildings to generate energy from renewable sources, photovoltaics is an integral part of the design. I will go into this topic at the end of the article. Now let’s see, among futuristic proposals, projects in progress and concrete solutions, some design photovoltaic modules that could inspire you.
Elegant and artistic photovoltaic modules
Let’s start with the classic solar panels composed of silicon solar cells, which appear as dark blue rectangular plates, with a network of silver connections. Not really the best of aesthetics, it is the case to say it: difficult to integrate with architecture, especially in historic buildings.
To solve the problem, Panasonic has designed HIT KURO, a line of high-efficiency photovoltaic modules, characterized by a thickness of only 4 cm and an all-black surface covered with anti-reflective glass.
Thanks to the minimalist design and the thin thickness, these panels integrate perfectly with the design houses.
Another innovative solution, which allows photovoltaic panels to be mounted on the roof of the house without compromising the aesthetics, comes from an Italian company. Trienergia offers triangular-shaped modules, to be combined with rectangular ones. These panels allow having a photovoltaic system perfectly integrated with the shape of the roof, and to cover a greater surface.
Finally, for a truly surprising effect, there are the artistic panels of another Italian company, Invent, which has patented the InvisibleCell® technology. Thanks to this technology, the traditional lattice disappears and the surface of the panel is totally black, as in the models I have already mentioned.
What makes this product unique is the decoration. That’s right, you got it right: now the solar panels can become real works of art, thanks to the decorations engraved on the surface of the protective glass. To complete the wonder, an LED lighting system allows you to create an evocative depth effect and night light effects. Furthermore, these panels can also be mounted on facades. One of the new frontiers of photovoltaics, in fact, involves the installation of modules not only on roofs.
The photovoltaic modules descend from the roof
Windows, parapets, curtains, lampposts, shelters, sculptures: the photovoltaic modules have no boundaries anymore. In the mare magnum of the proposals you can find efficient products, but at the moment none exceeds the classic panel in terms of performance.
However, for those who still want to save on their bills, these solutions can provide valuable help.
If you cannot mount the photovoltaic modules on the roof, or for those who have large glass surfaces and want to exploit them, there are photovoltaic glass panels. These modules can be transparent, semi-transparent or colored, and can be applied to windows, facades, parapets, skylights. This technology is still not widespread, given the high costs, but researchers from all over the world are committed to making it accessible to everyone.
We conclude with Solar Ivy, or solar ivy, an interesting project, created by designers Samuele and Teresa Cochran. It is a modular system of photovoltaic cells in the shape of an ivy leaf, which can be mounted on facades, recreating the effect of natural ivy. Unfortunately, the project did not have the commercial success it deserved, given the still prohibitive costs. But this is a technology that is still under development and could soon be available to everyone.
Renewable energy: a legal obligation also for private individuals
From 2018 the law establishes that all new buildings, or those subjected to extraordinary restructuring, are obliged to use at least 50% of energy from renewable sources, for the production of hot water, cooling, and heating. For those wishing to learn more about the subject, here is the text of Legislative Decree 28/2011 which regulates the matter.
If you are interested in the topic Smart Home, read the articles in the column.