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Designing Sustainable Buildings: Solar Energy #3

Do you find solar panels on buildings useful but ugly? We did too but we also love efficiency, renewable energy and zero consumption buildings. Luckily during the last years, architects and product designers seem intrigued to the challenge: some find new uses for existing technology, others create innovative new materials. It’s time to map our options. Continuing from our previous post, here they are:

5. The Color: Making solar panels any color you fancy. As many people do not opt for sustainable energy solutions becasuse they do not like them aesthetically, has led some energy startups, to work on creating panels in any colors we tell them to. Minus: we have to be patient. Next!

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6. The “Soft”: Making solar panels soft. To be specific, “Not rigid”.

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This is mainly achieved by a. not putting the glass case over the silicon cells and b. to make the silicon cells hard so as they do not break easily.

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Some producers have managed to create sticky rolls of solar generating surfaces.

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This idea has high potential since it is easy to apply and maintain, it is light and can be applied easily in various surfaces. Next!

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7. The “Tiled”: Changing the common photovoltaic panel dimension. Tesla had a simple and sharp idea: why not make a solar panel that has the size of an ordinary roof tile? Duh! Awesome idea, beautiful to see, easy to apply and maintain. Next!

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8. The “Transparent”: Why not making transparent solar panels and use them in windows? It is possible, beautiful and it only seems fair . Next!

9. The “Solar Paint”: a paint that can turn any surface into a solar cell. This groundbreaking idea seem to offer the potential to cover existing surfaces too. As such it can be applied on old and new buildings, on any private and public surfaces (roads, pavements etc), seems easily applied and maintained. Minus: low energy output per solar generating area.

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