Solar Trends to Look for in the Future
To the everyday consumer, solar energy used to seem like something out of a speculative science-fiction novel. But the technology is actually straightforward and has been used by humans in some form or another since ancient times. However, recent renewable energy developments have sparked exciting industry growth that promises a future of solar as a primary and mainstream energy source.
Meanwhile, clean energy advocates and consumers wait with bated breath to see what advancements will make solar more accessible. Home Improvement Leads shares a few highly anticipated developments and trends that you’ll see more of in the next few years.
Solar Glass Tiles
Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are photovoltaic solar cells that replace traditional building materials and blend more seamlessly with a structure’s aesthetic. BIPVs are out there functioning as a main or secondary source of power on homes, businesses, and even skyscrapers.
Even though rooftop solar is currently a leading-edge technology, you may soon see fewer clunky panels. Tesla’s Solar Roof Tiles are a type of BIPV that take the place of traditional roofing materials. They contain three layers: a high efficiency solar cell, a color louver film, and durable tempered glass on top.
Solar is in and of itself appealing; but the Tesla tiles bring “building-integrated” to a whole new level. They come in four styles, two of which mimic traditional premium roofing materials: clay and slate. The other two styles are textures glass and smooth glass. The solar cells can’t be spotted from the street—only from above. And the best news? When combined with projected utility savings, the solar roof tiles could be even cheaper than installing a traditional roof.
A community solar project involves many people investing in a solar installation and then sharing the power by splitting it up between their separate residences. The installation can be owned by the community or a third party, but in either case, the goal is the same: making solar affordable for more people, especially renters. There are already favorable policies for these types of installations and dozens of projects that are up and running. We’ll see plenty more of these in years to come.
Virtual Net Metering
Virtual net metering is a financial incentive of community solar. Regular net metering is a system where homeowners receive credit from utility companies in exchange for the excess energy produced by their solar system. With virtual net metering, the credit given to subscribers of a shared solar project depends on the size of their share. That way, you can receive the credits without actually being responsible for a physical installation on your roof. States that already offer virtual net metering include California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Vermont. But as awareness about community solar grows, you can expect to see more states hopping on the net metering train.
Personal, Portable Solar
Even if you can’t access a solar installation to power your home at the moment, you can still take advantage of the most abundant and dependable natural energy source that exists with products like solar backpacks, laptop and phone chargers, and lightweight, portable panels. Off-grid gadgets like these are perfect for hitting the trail or just minimizing energy use at home.