Where Is The Future For The Home Solar Roof?
Early versions of electric cars were far from attractive. The initail emphasis was to design a vehicle that could run far enough on a single electric charge to be competative with combustion engine vehicles. Research dollars poored into designing batteries that were both more powerful, lighter and smaller than the previous generation.
Today’s electric cars are very attractive to consumers. They have all of the features of combustion vehicles plus the added benefits of being super fast and clean. They are also far easier to maintain and safer.
Solar powered cars are still in the early development stages. These vehicles will eventually benefit from the advancements in electric vehicles since they are basically electric cars the use the sun to charge them. Every year research teams from universities all over the world compete to make the best solar powered car so far. The definition of best in this case is that the car can travel the longest distance in the shortest amount of time. This design criteria has not led to a very consumer ready vehicle as far as appearance. At least not yet.
High Tech Home Solar Roofs
Home solar power systems using silicon solar based solar panels are becoming very cost competative. Home owners all over the world are installing solar pv on their roofs. They are doing this even though the solar modules do not add to the attractiveness of the home. Adding big black solar panels by drilling supports to your roof can reduce your electricity bill to zero, but no-one would say they are attractive. Solar pv is still at an early development stage, so will future home solar be more attractive in design?
Recently Elon Musk has announced that his newly combined company of Tesla/SolarCity will be producing a new line of building integrated solar pv products. Elon claims that soon the company will be offering solar pv systems that will make your roof more attractive. They are developing their own solar shingles that will replace existing roofing shingles.
If you step back and look at the product line that Elon is creating you cannot help but admire it. I mean an attractive home solar systems that uses Tesla Powerwall electricity storage to harvest the sun. Add a Tesla electric car in the garage to be charged by this system and you have the clean energy family of the future.
Our hats are off to Elon.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.