Who would have guessed that solar panels have a reputation for being unsightly? In a town not too far from my home in New York, a family was denied the opportunity to put up solar panels on their home by the town’s Board of Architectural Review (BAR). Some of the family’s neighbors felt the panels “would clearly be an eyesore in our lovely Quaker Ridge neighborhood,” according to a contributor for a New York news service Metro Green Business.
As someone who usually has an opinion on aesthetically pleasing architecture, I really have absolutely no problem with the functional shiny solar panels. This just makes me want to scream, “Hey, these folks should be revered with a badge of courage for their stand on energy efficiency–for harvesting the sun’s energy rather than contributing to our dependence on fossil fuel.” But, I digress. As it turns out, there may be a solution that makes everyone happy: the neighbors, the earth, the homeowner.
“Traditional” solar panels may not win any design awards, but times have changed. SRS Energy, a Philadelphia company, has developed the Solé Power Tile, a roof tile designed to sustainably convert sunlight into electricity without compromising aesthetics. The dark blue tiles, manufactured by SRS Energy, are jointly branded and distributed by US Tile and specifically designed to be compatible with the clay roof tiles manufactured by US Tile. The Solé tiles, made from a high-performance polymer often used in car bumpers, are lightweight, unbreakable and recyclable. What’s so attractive about the Solé Power Tile system for consumers? They can choose a greener alternative, without sacrificing visual appeal.
By the way, what happened to the family who was denied the ability to put up solar panels? “The couple did not take well to the decision,” according to Metro Green Business. They “made for a scheduled appeal, enlisted the support of the media and environmentalists, and started their own petition (gathering 150 signatures in favor).” Eventually the BAR reversed the decision and allowed the solar panels. The decision mandated that the family plant several taller trees to shield the neighbors from the “eyesore” of the solar panels. Read the whole story here.
Hmmm, what are your thoughts? Are solar panels beautiful or ugly? Do you consider traditional solar panels an “eyesore”?