Guest post from our friends at Modernize. Images via Modernize.
The world of solar technology is rapidly advancing. Gone are the days when residential solar energy systems were a dream of the future. Now, it’s more attainable than ever, and solar technology developers are coming up with more ways to make solar energy systems efficient, accessible, and aesthetically pleasing. Modernize is here with a few of the latest and most cutting-edge trends to hit the solar market.
The most common type of photovoltaic cells used are multicrystalline cells because they are cheaper to produce. But monocrystalline cells are actually four to eight percent more efficient. As solar modules become more ubiquitous, the demand for cells with higher output grows. Monocrystalline cells boast longevity and less use of space because they are designed to be able to collect more energy from the sun.
Some people see the typical look of solar panels sprawling across the roof as a detriment to curb appeal. The look isn’t for everyone, especially residents of certain historic districts where people are encouraged to keep solar PV systems as invisible as possible. Thankfully, there is a solution. Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are solar panels designed to replicate and take the place of building materials. You could cover your entire roof in PV cells designed to look like shingles, or you could have solar windows. There are so many design options for BIPVs that will match the look of your home. The downside to BIPVs is that they are somewhat pricey and also somewhat less efficient—but when it comes to the cost, you’re replacing certain conventional materials with the PV cells, which means only paying for the cells.
Passive Solar Home Design
A passive solar home is by its very design optimal for collecting and using solar energy. With the climate and surrounding landscape in mind, you can design your home to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and have access to heated water through wall-mounted solar collectors that are so straightforward you could build one yourself. The solar panels are a supplement to the solar-minded design of the house rather than the main working feature.
Concentrator Photovoltaic Technology
In regions that get plenty of sunlight, concentrator PV technology is a good option. This method uses lenses and mirrors to focus sunlight onto a small, highly efficient cell, and trackers to help this equipment follow the sun.