Here is an example of a solar installation that proves solar does not necessarily need to be installed on the roof. This customer determined that the roof was facing the incorrect direction for solar to work so they designed a practical solar walkway that provides protection in the winter and shading in the summer. It also serves as a design feature for the backyard. This “dramatic” solar installation in Saratoga Springs produces up to 17 kW of electricity.
Moving from that unique solar installation to a different type of solar installation, this great blog summarizes types of Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV). Examples include solar glass walls, solar shingles that look almost identical to your existing shingles and the very cool solar ink that, one day, we will be able to print on nearly any surface in order to collect energy.
In support of that I just recently read an interesting article (found here) that states “the installed capacity for building integrated photovoltaics technology will surpass 1 gigawatt by 2016.” This shows that BIPV will be a new trend in new construction and new remodels. This is going to be driven by the push for newly built and renovated buildings to adhere to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and net-zero standards; both of which require on-site energy production.
Solar is not just for the roof anymore; expect to see it installed on windows, siding, fences, decks, walls, and more in the near future…