Solar power finds a home on everything
The Future. Solar power is becoming more cost-effective and easier on the eyes, as many firms develop innovative ways to put panels and cells into almost everything. With solar power being one of the easiest ways to collect energy on a macro and micro scale, prepare for the latest trends in fashion, architecture, and even home furniture to revolve around the ability to harness the power of the sun.
A “solar movement” is heating up. Here are some of the coolest innovations happening in the space:
- Tesla’s solar shingles are an example of Building Integrated Photovoltaics, which is turning buildings themselves into solar panels.
- Architecture company Tentech is developing a fabric that has thin solar panels woven into it so that it can be used as a building material.
- Solar Visuals helped a team develop translucent solar cells that are integrated into colored glass, which will soon be on display at The Netherlands Pavilion at the upcoming Dubai Expo.
- Sistine Solar creates solar panel graphic overlays to match any roofing material, such as terra cotta. Its products are already available in nine states.
And workshop between studios from the Netherlands and Mozambique led to the creation of a material called “solar palha” or “solar palm tree.” The material can be used to create items, like handbags or lampshades, with built-in solar cells that can charge a phone.
These developments, to beautify solar power, are a welcome boon to an industry that is also becoming more cost-effective.
- Solar panel demand has increased 40% in the past ten years, while installation costs dropped 70%.
- With subsidies from its infrastructure bill, the White House hopes to get solar to account for half of U.S. energy consumption by 2050. (It only accounts for 4% as of 2020.)
Garrett Nilsen, the director of the Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, says the “friction” for solar adoption came from the cost of the technology for a while, but, “Now that we’re at a lower cost level, maybe the friction comes from elsewhere, such as how does something look?”