Will colored solar panels improve the attractiveness of solar PV?

Often, solar customers hesitate to go solar due to the visual impact typical blue or black panels could have over their home or building rooftop. The claim is that the panels just didn’t go well with the roof or was a distraction to the eyes.

Issues like this opened up an opportunity for creating aesthetically pleasing solar panel designs. Panels have been made available in red, pink, green and many more colors.

Where have they been used?

Colored panels are especially popular in the US and some European countries where there are a large number of red roofs, and installing red colored solar panels make them less conspicuous.

Italy, in particular, has many red rooves so these panels have been used there. Colored solar panels have also been used in the UK. Recently a house on the site of a converted oast house in Sussex had red solar panels installed as they blended into the red roof.



An interesting question that comes up when it comes to installing colored solar panels is: How is their efficiency in comparison to conventional solar panels?

Actually, the efficiency is typically less compared to commercially available panels. In fact, this depends on what the color is too. Green or gray colored panels are more efficient as they reflect less and absorb more sunlight. The darker the color, the more efficient they are. It is worth mentioning here that currently there are some startup companies who claim to supply panels that convert even 15-17% of sunlight into electricity.

Efficiency aside, the another big question is regarding the cost. In comparison to typical polycrystalline panels, colored panels can be 50% costlier but some of them are cheaper that the highest priced panels.

One such company is a Boston-based start-up – Sistine Solar – which came up with the idea of creating colored solar panels that go well with the homeowner’s roof texture. The panels are called ‘SolarSkin’ due to its ability to blend in the roof texture.

An interesting installation by the company is one where they designed a solar canopy that resembles green grass for the courtyard at the Starwood Element Hotel in Irving, Texas.

Read up more on colored solar panels here and here.

Take a look at some colored solar panels installations.


Architectural Shingle in Red Clay – 8.6 kW system (Photo: Courtesy Sistine Solar)

solarskin-green-shingle-1A house in Hubbardston, Massachusetts – 4.3 kW system (Photo: Courtesy Sistine Solar)

Considering the cost and efficiency factor, colored panels are especially attractive to business enterprises which are open to the idea of adopting latest innovations and making a green statement.

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