It’s no secret that Solar power is thriving and has been in a constant state of innovation in 2016. It seems there are new advances in solar panel technology announced almost every single week. Below are 4 major updates on the most recent breakthroughs you should know about in the world of solar panel technology:
1. Solar Skin Design
One major barrier for the solar industry is the fact that a high percentage of homeowners consider solar panels to be an unsightly home addition. Luckily, one new 2016 venture has a solution to this! Sistine Solar, a Boston-based design firm, is making major strides with the concept of aesthetic enhancement that allow solar panels to have a customized look. The MIT startup has created a “solar skin” product that makes it possible for solar panels to match the appearance of a roof without interfering with panel efficiency or production. Sistine Solar’s skin product is expected to hit U.S. markets in 2017 and will help to rebrand solar panels as a luxury product, not just a home efficiency upgrade. This is huge!
2. Solar Powered Roads
This past summer “paved the way” for tests of an exciting new PV technology – solar powered roads. The sidewalks along Route 66, America’s historic interstate highway, were chosen as the testing location for solar-powered pavement tech. These roadways are heralded for their ability to generate clean energy, but they also include LED bulbs that can light roads at night and have the thermal heating capacity to melt snow during winter weather!
3. Wearable Solar
Wearable solar devices are nothing new. We know that solar-powered watches and other gadgets have been on the market for several years now. But 2016 took it to the next level and saw an innovation in solar textiles: tiny solar panels can now be stitched into the fabric of clothing. The wearable solar products of the past have typically been made with hard plastic material. This new textile concept makes it possible for solar to expand into home products like window curtains and dynamic consumer clean tech like heated car seats. This emerging solar technology is credited to textile designer Marianne Fairbanks and chemist Trisha Andrew.
4. Solar Batteries
The concepts of off-grid solar and solar plus storage have gained popularity in U.S. markets, and solar manufacturers have taken notice. The industry-famous Tesla Powerwall, a rechargeable lithium ion battery product launched in 2015, continues to lead the pack with regard to market share and brand recognition for solar batteries. Tesla offers two storage products, the Powerwall for residential use and the Powerpack for commercial use, and the clean auto behemoth is expected to launch its Powerwall 2.0 product in weeks to come. Solar storage is still a fairly expensive product in 2016, but a surge in demand from solar shoppers is expected to bring significantly more efficient and affordable batteries to market in 2017!
This long list of solar panel technology innovations in 2016 is nothing but good news for those considering solar panels systems. Efficiency upgrades, storage improvements and equipment capabilities all contribute to more effective power output for solar panels and lower costs for systems. Additionally, with an increasingly affordable buy-in price, a return on investment of roughly four years for the average system and the fact that solar can improve home value, the decision is a no-brainer. Go green and save green with Infiniti Energy Services!