2018-06-22 10:51:37

New solar panels: what¡¯s coming to market in 2018?

New Solar Panels: What's coming to market in 2018?

In today’s fast expanding solar industry, there are already hundreds of different panel models and designs available to the modern day solar shopper. A growing number of premium technology brands (think Panasonic and LG) have entered the residential solar market, leaving homeowners across the country wondering: what’s next? What new technologies can we expect for solar panels in 2018? In this article we will discuss all of the new developments with photovoltaic (PV) panels, including new  aesthetics like clear solar panels, bi-facial (double-sided) panels, efficiency improvements and solar inverter integration.
 
The cost of solar is dropping across the nation. See prices in your area and get free solar quotes on the EnergySage Marketplace.What are the new solar panel designs and aesthetics?
 
One of the most common criticisms of the solar panels available today is their appearance on a roof – many homeowners considering solar are looking for a product that will both generate energy and offer a stylish and aesthetic improvement for their property. In response, solar panel manufacturers are developing new solutions to give solar the makeover homeowners have been asking for.
 
Frameless solar panelsA major factor in the critique of solar’s aesthetic is the solar panel frame, which many homeowners find to be the least attractive part of a PV panel. To solve that problem, major manufacturers such as SolarWorld, Canadian Solar, and Trina are
producing frameless solar modules. The main hinderance for these aesthetic panels is the lack of suitable mounting equipment that can work without a frame. As a result, manufacturers are producing specialized mounting apparatus to match their frameless panels. One example of this is Lumos Solar, which offers the LSX Frameless Module as well as its own dynamic mounting solution.
 
Clear solar panelsMany frameless panel designs are entirely enclosed in one material, typically glass. Glass solar panels use the same silicon cell technology and materials of a standard panel, but rather than being mounted on an opaque backing material, the cells are sandwiched between two glass casings. In most scenarios, glass panels are bi-facial, but we will save that concept for later in the article.Glass solar panels are an innovation in multiple ways because, in addition to being more visually attractive, glass panels are more durable than a typical silicon cell panel. These panels are known to be significantly more resistant to fire hazard and are also less prone to erosion. Prism Solar, DSM Advanced Surfaces, Topray Solar and Sunshine Solar are some of the leading solar glass manufacturers in the industry today. Though glass-on-glass panels are often integrated into a skylight or building window (as in the image below), they are not truly “building integrated photovoltaics” because they are attached to the building rather than incorporated into the building envelope.
 
Genuine solar windows are a new residential concept we will be watching for in 2017. This solar window product, sometimes referred to as “clear solar panels,” would be a legitimate example of BIPV. To date, this type of window replacement glass solar has only been used for utility scale solar installations, primarily in Europe. 

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