SolarCity is Making Solar Panels Pretty
As society progresses, we need to become conscious of our effects on the environment. For a long time, the Earth to us seemed like an endless dumping ground. This is especially true of our treatment of the atmosphere. Nearly everyone that has need to, has dumped any emissions they have produced directly in the atmosphere. This has started to affect it on a global scale, as climate change begins to radically affect the weather all over the globe. Fortunately, we are starting to take notice and are becoming proactive about this problem.
Elon Musk and his company SolarCity are hitting this problem head on. SolarCity is in the business of providing solar panels to homeowners, who in return pay SolarCity as if it were a utility company. SolarCity’s goal is to force a transition to clean energy as quickly as possible, in order to offset the damage we have already done to the environment.
As SolarCity and other solar companies speak about their plans for the future, they are often perceived as trying to work against utility companies, when in fact this is not the case. SolarCity needs to work with utility companies due to increasing power demands projected in the future. Overall, switching our gas-powered devices like cars, stoves, and heating systems in your house to full electric will triple our electricity consumption. About a third of the consumption will be for transportation, a third for heating, and the last third for everything we currently use electricity for. Because this is the case, power will need to be generated by the utility companies, and locally at individual homes in a clean and sustainable way. This being the case, there will be room for green energy companies like SolarCity to grow and thrive alongside the utility companies.
The main strategy for selling the solar panels to the public has been to directly address and fix the problems that solar panels have, and to fix them directly. Two ways they have already done this is by making the process of getting solar panels on your house much easier and cheaper. They have also boosted the efficiency of their solar panels to make them more cost effective and now have some of the highest efficiency solar panels available.
Their next step is their appearance; many people perceive solar panels as ugly. SolarCity has gone ahead and fixed this by making solar panels that are largely indistinguishable from high-end roofing. They have done this by putting textured glass tile over the solar cells on the panel. They have done this with different style of roofs, and have been able to recreate a standard roofing style, a French slate roof, a Modern roof, and a Copper or Tuscan colored roof. They have maintained the efficiency of the solar panels by creating textured glass that is transparent from a high angle, that way the light from the sun is not obstructed. But observing from the ground, they are opaque. This way you cannot see the solar cell. Meanwhile, they have been able to strengthen solar roofing in comparison to a conventional roof. Making the application practical.
Roofs like this can’t be the roofs of the future, they need to be the roofs of today. Climate change is a problem now, and has to be to be dealt with immediately. At this point, we need to accelerate our transition to clean energy options. Hopefully, this new roof will be the catalyst to make this change happen.
Link for Elon Musk’s full talk on new solar panels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRqSkR4ENAg