While solar panels are becoming more de rigeur, the technology does not come without its pitfalls.
Reports of improperly, and sometimes dangerously, installed solar panels led to some controversy, as did the fact that some panels were believed not to be working as expected. Adding to the negative news surrounding solar panels, Solyndra, a major producer of solar panels in the United States went bankrupt in September, 2011.
New solar technologies, however, stand to ensure that the alternative energy source continues to have its day in the sun.
Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) represent the next wave of solar technology and involve tiny solar cells that can be fitted virtually anywhere on a building, from wall panels to window glazing to roofing tiles.
Because they are far smaller than traditional solar panels, BIPV help remove the limitations with which solar power was typically saddled. Gone are the days when the panels would be obtrusive. Photovoltaic glass products such as Pythagoras Solar’s Solar PV Windows and Onyx Solar BIPV can prevent harmful ultraviolet rays from penetrating into a building’s interior. More notably, the windows and skylights capture and store more energy than typical solar panels because the angled glass is exposed to the sun from more angles.
These options, as well as BIPV roof and wall technologies, offer the benefit of being easily approved during the building process as they are built into a structure instead of being added on at a later date.
Of course, the new technologies have some drawbacks of their own. The greatest is perhaps the fact that they are far costlier than conventional solar panels – a daunting notion given the price tag associated with the old technology.
As BIPVs become more common, however, costs should fall more in line with those of traditional solar panels.
In either case, however, the fact that the solar panel industry is moving forward and looking for newer, better solutions promises big things for the future of green energy.