Invisible Solar Panels Can Be Disguised As Tiles Or Shingles

Solar panels can drastically bring down the energy footprint of any building on which they are installed. But existing solar panels can't be used just anywhere. These flat, fragile, and transparent panels are best placed on roofs, where they can collect the most sun without being damaged—and where they also draw plenty of attention to themselves, aesthetically altering the appearance of the buildings on which they are installed. For historic buildings, solar energy is often simply not an option.

Now, a family-run Italian solar business called Dyaqua thinks it has an answer to what some might call the architectural blight of solar panels. The company has invented what it calls "Invisible Solar" panels, though that's a bit of a misnomer. These solar panels aren't so much invisible as they are indistinguishable from more common construction materials, such as concrete, slate, stone, terracotta, and even wood.

Solar panels are traditionally made up of a couple parts. First, they usually contain a photovoltaic module, which generates electricity from direct sunlight. But since these modules are fragile, they need to be encased in a housing to protect them—and because those housings must let in light, they are usually made of transparent materials, like glass. Dyaqua's Invisible Solar system works by using a special polymeric compound for this housing. This compound is opaque to the eye, and can be designed to resemble traditional materials, but it lets just enough sunlight through to power the photovoltaic module within.

Source: fastcodesign.comAdded: 8 November 2016