It’s an exciting time to follow the world of solar technology. Right now, solar energy is more affordable, accessible and prevalent than ever before. The cost of solar in the U.S. has declined about 70% in the past decade. As a result, more and more people are turning toward the sun for their electricity generation needs. And as the interest in solar energy grows, so does the field of solar innovation.

While you may immediately think of solar panels, they aren’t the only way the solar industry is evolving. From aesthetic solar overlays to a pocket solar plug, keep reading to find out more about new solar technologies.

1. SolarSkins: Solar Innovations in Design

Have you ever thought solar panels are ugly? You’re not alone. Sometimes, potentially-interested solar customers may be held back by a certain factor. The perceived aesthetics of solar panels. Many people have a mental image of the blue photovoltaic panels with silver frames and can’t imagine putting those on a home they take pride in. 

While we at KC Solar only offer black-on-black solar panels, there’s another new technology that’s making waves when it comes to good-looking solar panels. SolarSkins by Sistine Solar are “the world’s only solar designed to blend in.”

These aesthetic overlays help transform the look of solar panels by seamlessly blending in with each customer’s roof. And they may even act as an additional layer of protection for solar systems. They’ve been tested at the world’s premier solar labs and are designed to last while boosting home value at the same time.

2. SolarGaps Smart Blinds

Maybe you’re interested in harnessing solar energy for your home or office but aren’t sold on the idea of solar panels. Or maybe you’re renting an apartment and don’t have the ability to make those decisions. SolarGaps Smart Blinds may be an option for you.

“SolarGaps smart blinds are the first blinds that automatically track the sun and generate electricity from its energy while keeping your apartment or office cool. Installed on the outside of the building, our blinds will not only lower your power bills but also provide active shading to reduce air conditioning usage and consequently, reduce your carbon footprint.” – SolarGaps

Smart Blinds can provide renewable energy for at least 10 years. And you can control them with an app in your smartphone. The active shading of your home or office can decrease the need for air conditioning by 30%, further reducing your energy usage.

3. Solar Roadways

Recent innovation in solar energy stretches beyond just what we can use in our own homes in offices. One solar company, Solar Roadways, is specially engineering solar panels that can be walked and driven on to increase solar panel surface area for a widespread renewable energy source.

“Our panels contain LED lights to create lines and signage without paint. They contain heating elements to prevent snow and ice accumulation. The panels have microprocessors, which makes them intelligent. This allows the panels to communicate with each other, a central control station, and vehicles.” – Solar Roadways

Solar Roadways has already completed three funding contracts with the U.S. Department of Transportation and been independently studied by major universities. In the future, they plan to expand Solar Roadways to more public areas such as highways, airports and playgrounds.

4. NovaSolix Antenna-Based Solar Cells

When it comes to solar innovations, one company is asking big questions: “How much better must a new technology be to be revolutionary?”

NovaSolix is pushing the boundaries of what solar receptors look like. They focus on more than the traditional photovoltaic solar panels. NovaSolix has created carbon nanotube antennas which are small enough to match the nano-scale wavelengths of sunlight.

“Antennas can convert electromagnetic spectrum much more efficiently than photovoltaic (PV) cells. When perfected, NovaSolix antennas will capture far more energy from the sun, and far more efficiently, achieving near 90% efficiency (versus ~20% for PV).” – NovaSolix

NovaSolix argues that not only can the antennas be more efficient than photovoltaic panels, but they can also be cheaper, lighter and more flexible. This emerging technology could be one to watch over the coming years.

5. SunPort Solar Access Device

With SunPort’s Solar Access Device, solar energy really can be for everyone. By plugging the small box into any standard three-prong outlet, you can access solar energy on the go. You also get 250,000 solar credits free with your purchase, which should cover about one year of normal access.

“Finally, solar that is truly hassle-free, without the expense or complication of owning panels! You decide where, when and how much solar to use, just by plugging in. SunPort measures power you take from any outlet and validates it as solar, tracking usage with tiny solar microcredits called SunJoules®. To get started simply plug in, and SunPort does the rest.” –SunPort

Not only can you choose your favorite color for your SunPort, but you can make a statement that you’re using solar energy at the same time. Whether you’re at home, at work, or somewhere in between, your solar power goes wherever you go.

Providing Solar Innovations in Kansas City

The renewable energy landscape is changing due to solar innovations and technology, and we’re excited to have a front-row seat to the transformation. We’d love to see more of the world embrace solar in its various forms, and we’re committed to solar installation and education in our hometown of Kansas City.

If you’re considering solar energy for your home or business – or have questions about whether solar is right for you – get in contact with us, and we’ll be happy to chat.

We look forward to serving you!