We’ve all seen them. The big, clunky, steel-framed, waffle grid-looking solar panels sticking so far off of the roof, it looks like a squirrel could make a nest under them. It’s not necessarily a pretty sight. Unfortunately for many homeowners not in the know, this gaudy archetype of a solar panel is what they assume all solar panels look like, and this idea keeps them from going solar and reaping the benefits. This could not be further from the truth.
The truth is, while many solar panel manufacturers still churn out these blocky panels, there are many companies out there that are creating discrete, inconspicuous solar panels that look great on any roof. The aesthetically-minded homeowners out there have spoken, and some solar companies have listened, focusing a ton of their energy on creating not only the most efficient, but best-looking solar panels possible. As a result, it is now possible to have very powerful, yet discreet solar panels installed on your roof that do not detract from the aesthetics of your home.
Inconspicuous Solar Panel Systems
When it comes to solar system aesthetics, the three main elements contributing to the look are the system size, the racking system, and the look of the panels. Creating a sleek looking panel that is compact yet powerful, along with a racking system that is close to the roof, yet doesn’t sacrifice efficiency to heat buildup, is a difficult thing to do. That’s why these elements have be closely analyzed, as both have to work together to create a good looking system.
So let’s take a look at a few different factors that make up what most would consider an aesthetically pleasing solar system. We’ll look at panel size, panel look, and racking in order to determine which solar company is truly innovating when it comes to solar panel aesthetics.
Solar Racking Comparison
Most solar companies use a conventional solar racking system where the rails hold the panels high off the roof. With these racking systems, there is often ends of rails sticking out, as they are not flush with the panels. The result is often a large, gaudy racking system that holds panels high and has an incomplete look to it. These racking systems look industrial and garish, and often can detract from the aesthetics of a solar system.
The final contributing factor to the overall look of a solar system is the design of the panels themselves – that is, what color they are, the look of the cells grouped together, etc. Let’s take a look at a few styles and models of panels and see which company makes the best looking.
Solar Panel Aesthetics Comparison
The aesthetics of solar panels have become more and more important to customers over time – and as a result solar companies have adjusted. Most customers are ok with the classic waffle grid look, but progressively, those more aesthetically minded customers are demanding the new black panels. Many customers find these panels better looking because of their discrete and sleek look, as with the black color they blend better with the roof. The only issue is, due to the black backing, they can generate more heat, and a result, lose some efficiency compared to the white-backed panels. With that in mind, let’s look some black panels that companies are making, and compare them to find the one that is the most compact, and most efficient.
LG NeOn 320 Black
The NeOn 320 Black is LG’s premiere black solar panel. From the frame to the backing, it’s all black – although the cells and wiring around the cells is still relatively visible. Let’s take a look at how it stacks up spec-wise
Panel Size: 66.38 x 40 x 1.57 inches
Panel Efficiency: 18.7%
Now let’s take a look at Panasonic’s version of the black panel.
Panasonic N325K HIT Black
The Panasonic N325K Black is a good looking panel, although the vertical wires are still visible, so the panel is not fully blacked out. Let’s take a look at the tech specs to see how it adds up otherwise.
Panel Size: 62.6 x 41.5 x 1.6 inches
Panel Efficiency: 19.4%
So the Panasonic black panel is a little bit shorter.. And a little more efficient. Let’s check out the SunPower model.
SunPower 335 Signature Black
The SunPower 335 Signature Black is what you imagine when you think of a black solar panel. It’s SOLID black. No wiring visible, no backing visible, and of course with the black frame. But how does it stack up tech wise? Let’s look.
Panel Size: 61.3 x 41.2 x 1.8 inches
Panel Efficiency: 21.0%
So if you’re looking to install the best looking solar system possible, that doesn’t stick out and take away from your home aesthetics – contact us today.