While rooftop solar mounts have become a viable product in recent years, they are not going to be the only choice for long. There are several new products being researched that will allow you to generate your own power without the hassle of rooftop panels. Most of these technologies are coming to commercial installations first, but that doesn't mean your home has to go without any of these exciting new technologies.
Solar Window Films
There are a few solar window films already on the market, but recent advances in solar tech is likely to make them a better choice for homeowners. The biggest difference is color. While old films create a dark, reflective surface that is ill-suited for residential installation, the new technology allows for fully transparent panels. This makes them completely invisible from the outside- perfect for homes with strict homeowner's association rules that discourage solar installations.
Once these new panels go through testing and are ready for manufacturing, there will likely be two options. The first will be a film that goes over existing windows, allowing you to generate solar power on the sunny side of the house with just a little wiring. The second option will come when window manufacturers start incorporating this technology into new windows. You won't have to worry about any bubbles in the film if the solar portion comes preinstalled, and you will likely benefit from increased energy production. If you have old, inefficient windows, this is also an opportunity to reduce your energy usage by upgrading the quality of your windows as well.
Solar Roadways and Sidewalks
While one couple is making all the big headlines, the cat is now out of the box, and you will be able to pave your driveway and sidewalk in solar panels in the next few years. Still in the early stages of development, solar roadways offer a way to use all of the open space, that was previously paved over, as a way to generate electricity. This is important because solar energy simply takes up more space than many other types of energy generation. By repurposing existing open spaces, it is possible to get the needed space without losing the areas needed for homes, factories and farms.
Unlike window films, the panels can be opaque so aspiring manufacturers are able to use existing solar technology. Instead, the research is focused on finding ways to create panels that can handle several tons of vehicles being driven or parked on top of them. Since roof panels are extremely delicate, this is a serious challenge. Once that issue has been resolved, it is a simple matter of ramping up tile production to the point where it is cost effective to tile your driveway with them.
Solar shingles have been around for awhile, but for some reason they haven't become common knowledge. Rather than installing large, ungainly panels on your roof, why not install panels that interlock with your existing shingles? Of all these options, this is the one you can install today. Once you have the infrastructure in place to utilize solar energy, adding additional power sources will be much less expensive. While solar shingles are installed just like asphalt shingles, it is still best to find an electrician experienced in their installation. The shingles need to be connected so that power can flow through them into the house. If this is done improperly, you will not be able to recoup the cost of installation.
Solar energy is possibly the most exciting green energy options since you, as a homeowner, can generate your own electricity. These recent advances only make it easier to make your life less reliant on fossil fuels to power your life.