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The Evolution of Solar Panels: Homeowners Now Have More Design Options Than Ever

Solar panels have come a long way since the 1950s. Here are a few of the latest design trends.

Laura Leiva
Content Writer
The Evolution of Solar Panels: Homeowners Now Have More Design Options Than Ever
  •  
Apr 19, 2024
  •  
4 min read

Switching to solar energy is a smart move, especially if you’re hoping to increase the value of your home should you sell it later on. Aside from bettering the environment and saving you money every month on your electricity bill, solar panel designs give homes a modern, sleek look. In fact, compared to where they started, the evolution of solar panels is pretty impressive.

If you read our article on 2024 solar trends, you’ll know that there are several new innovations hitting the market. AI integrations—including what we’re doing here at Monalee—will make solar energy more affordable and therefore more accessible to everyday homeowners.

From advancements in technology to integrative designs, there’s no better time to go solar than right now.

The Evolution of Solar Panels: Homeowners Now Have More Design Options Than Ever

Advancements in Technology 

Gone are the days of clunky solar panels and expensive systems that stick out like a sore thumb. Today’s homeowners have many options, from new technology to microinverters and even flexible solar panels. 

Over the last decade—and specifically within the last five years— solar panels have changed and evolved to be more versatile, efficient, and affordable for homeowners. 

Here are some ways advancements in technology have made shopping for solar panels for the home easier than ever. 

solar panel innovations

Colored Solar Panels 

While dark-colored panels, usually deep blue or black, are the traditional options for solar panels, those with a light-colored roof can now shop for styles that blend in with the existing materials.

The color of the solar panels is determined by the cells used. For example, monocrystalline cells are often dark blue, black, or gray. This is because darker colors absorb light, leaving very little reflection and thus making solar panels work more efficiently. 

Even though darker panels work more efficiently, technological advancements have made lighter-colored panels viable. Depending on which color panel best suits your roof, you may see a decrease in performance of 11 to 30 percent. Still, there are ways to improve efficiency by choosing a panel coating that reduces reflection to absorb more light. 

There are options for those with historic homes or who want a minimal transition from roof to solar panels – though they come with a larger price tag!

solar panels come in black and other colors

Integrative Designs

From paper-thin and flexible materials to tiles and shingles that mimic the appearance of actual roofing materials, homeowners with unique-shaped roofs or design preferences can now participate in tapping into the sun’s energy to power their homes. 

Integrative panels allow for bending and curving, giving homeowners even more flexibility in installing solar systems where they’ll be most effective. 

solar trends include more flexible materials

Sleek equipment

From powerwalls to microinverters, solar system equipment is sleek and takes up very little space compared to older generational models. 

Whether you choose to add battery storage or are considering where to place the solar inverter, equipment works to boost performance and efficiency without taking up real estate in the yard or garage. 

Additionally, incorporating storage equipment into the design of the solar system means homeowners can use fewer panels while maintaining cost savings and boosting energy efficiency. 

Tesla's Powerwall 3 is one of the best batteries on the market

Functionality is still key

As important as aesthetics are when shopping for solar panels, functionality still reigns supreme. 

Over the last decade, solar power companies have been able to combine these two features to give homeowners the best of both worlds. For example, the Mitrex panels used at Monalee are high-performance modules with advanced cell technology to withstand weather conditions such as the wind and snow typically found in the northern regions of the United States. 

Newer solar panels also have better warranties and equipment, making them a cost-effective alternative to traditional power sources because they last longer and require less maintenance. 

Smart features—such as having access to data on a smartphone—make it easy to track energy usage and stay up-to-date with how your panels function. 

If you’ve been hesitant about going solar, the rapid advancements in climate technology mean it’s becoming increasingly accessible to every homeowner. No matter the roof style or home design, there’s a solar panel system that blends in to give you energy independence and the clean aesthetic you want!

how black solar panels look like on a house

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