If you’re interested in solar panels but worried about your home’s exterior aesthetics, you’re certainly not alone. This can be one of the biggest deterrents to making the solar switch for many homeowners.
The good news is there are plenty of options when it comes to solar panel designs. Let’s dive in to figure out the best-looking solar panels for your home.
There are three primary factors which determine the aesthetic of solar panels:
- Panel position
- Panel color
- Panel frame
Solar Panel Position
Your panels’ position on your roof is one of the most important elements of solar aesthetics. Every home is different when it comes to roof architecture, pitch, sun direction, and sun exposure. These factors influence the way your solar panel installation looks as well as how concerned you may be about the aesthetic impact of solar panels on your home.
For example, if your roof is designed at a steep angle, the panels will be easily visible to onlookers, whereas lower-pitch roofs will make solar panels more difficult to see. When the panels are obviously visible, homeowners are most motivated to find the best-looking solar panels available.
Moreover, solar panels are most efficient when positioned facing south. If the south side of your home is the front of your house, aesthetics become more important than if the solar panels are hidden in your backyard. Talking with your solar panel installer will help you determine where and how the panels need to be installed.
Solar Panel Types and Colors
There are three types of rooftop solar panels: polycrystalline, monocrystalline, and thin film panels. We go into the specific characteristics of each type in this article, but let’s focus on aesthetics here because the color of your solar panels will depend on the type of panel you choose to buy.
Polycrystalline solar panels are the middle-of-the-road option in terms of price and efficiency, and they get their signature blue shimmer from imperfections in the silicon fragments used in the creation of their energy-generating solar cells.
However, each panel and each cell isn’t the same shade of blue due to the different silicon fragments being melted down to form the cells. Though the differences aren’t dramatic, it makes these blue panels stand out even more on neutral-colored roofs.
Monocrystalline panels are made in the same manner as polycrystalline panels. The difference here is the silicon used in the solar cells is purer, coming from a single source for a single crystal formation. Thus, the cells and panels are uniform in their solid black color.
These panels are more effective than the other types, as well as more desirable when it comes to home aesthetics. The sleek black looks great on any roof, but they’re also the most expensive of the three types.
Thin Film Panels: Varied
In contrast, thin film panels are the cheapest panels on the market. They’re lightweight and much thinner than monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels. This means they have a lower profile when it comes to roof installation.
Thin film panels can vary in color but, whether black or blue, the color is uniform throughout the entire panel. These are the least noticeable solar panels, but also the least effective at generating energy.
Solar Panel Frames
In addition to the color of the solar modules, the frames used around each solar panel can make a difference when it comes to the overall look.
Silver solar panel frames are generally disliked among homeowners because of the attention they draw. They’re very noticeable as the contrast between the dark solar cells and the bright frame pulls focus to the panel layout on the roof.
So, why use the silver frame? It’s the most cost-effective option.
These frames are the cheapest to make and install. They are also the most energy efficient. Believe it or not, the stark color contrast between the light silver and the dark panels increases the efficiency of the solar cells by better regulating the heat of the solar panels.
Black frames are often considered to be the top choice for the best-looking solar panels. They are less jarring and look far more modern. The sleek black-on-black color palette when paired with monocrystalline solar panels feels more expensive and luxurious.
However, it is more expensive. While the sleek black frames are better in the aesthetic long-run, they also increase the initial cost. Additionally, the black frames are less energy efficient, absorbing more heat and preventing the solar cells from cooling down for the most efficient solar energy generation.
Keep in Mind
Though colors and price may seem like the main determining factors for the best-looking solar panels, it’s vital you keep a few things in mind as you make your decision.
Before you purchase or install solar panels, check your neighborhood’s HOA restrictions and rules. Some HOAs are more lenient than others, but many are very specific and very strict. If you fail to consult the HOA guidelines when installing rooftop solar, you may find yourself facing HOA fines and angry neighbors.
Some HOAs will ask you to paint your solar panel frames to fit a specific aesthetic. Painting or altering your solar panels may void some warranties! Don’t do anything before double-checking with your original solar installer about the solar panel warranty—and if you’re aware of the restrictions beforehand, discuss them with your solar installer to see if they can make needed adjustments at the time of installation.
It’s also important to check state regulations. Some areas have passed legislation which prohibit HOAs from placing restrictions on solar panel aesthetics. Your solar panel installer can help you understand the applicable laws, regulations, and options in your area.
Budget and Market
Solar panel designs and options will vary depending on your budget, location, and the market. The specific look you want for your solar panels may be well out of your budget, so it’s good to be aware of alternative options. Additionally, your installer may be limited in what they can provide according to your area.
Consult Your Installer
Ultimately, your solar panel installer knows best. They know the market, they know what aesthetics are possible for your market, they know where to place the panels on your house and how to make them look the best. As you consult with them, express your desires and concerns so they can help create the perfect solar system for your home and budget.
Go Solar with Blue Raven Solar
Blue Raven Solar only installs the highest quality monocrystalline panels. You can rest easy knowing the materials and products we use are the best, no matter what aesthetic you are looking for.
Blue Raven Solar is ready to help you go solar, so let’s get started.