Over the past couple of years, solar panel technologies have seen a dramatic increase in demand. This is mostly due to the fact that these technologies have become cheaper and more affordable, hence becoming more accessible to everyday home owners. In fact, in 2012, the US Department of Energy has predicted that solar technologies could reach up to 1 to 3 million homes in the US alone by the year 2020, which is huge compared to just 30,000 houses back in 2006.
However, this is still small compared to the total population of the US, in which only 1% of the country only uses solar energy; And with the ever rising global temperatures and sudden changes in climate, the world is in need of alternative power sources that could help save the environment, and it needs all the help it could get. So how do you encourage homeowners to switch from traditional electricity to solar energy? Well, Sistine Solar has the perfect solution: Make solar panels that can display custom images to make them more visually appealing.
Sistine Solar is an MIT spin-out startup company that focuses on delivering solar panels to everyday homes in the US. Their newest technology? SolarSkin: a solar panel that can display custom images in hopes that it would become more visually appealing to potential customers, without affecting the panel’s efficiency to gather solar energy.
This solar panel can be imprinted with any image you want; Be it mimic your own home’s roof to blend in, or maybe a nice grassy land you can put on your lawn. You can even have your company’s business logo displayed as a form of advertisement, or if you’re feeling patriotic, your country’s flag. The possibilities are endless with this one. Goodbye plain, huge, and clunky looking solar panels, and hello beautiful solar panel aesthetic.
These solar panels cost about 10% more than normal solar panels, but considering the fact that in the long term, you can save up to $30,000 from paying electricity bills and such, and that it looks way prettier, I say it’s well worth the price.
This project has deemed to be very successful. In fact, it won the 2013 MIT Clean Energy Prize, and has also garnered popular media attention by being featured in the Lifetime Television series “Designing Spaces”. Now, the company is expecting to deliver this technology to over 200 homes, mostly in California and Massachusetts where solar energy is in high demand.