Decorative solar panel designs are showing up in, on and around homes all across the country. As more and more Americans are switching to the money-saving, independent solar lifestyle, architects and designers are finding creative ways to make solar panels beautiful. If that sounds like an oxymoron, you might be surprised at how well photovoltaic panels can become architectural design elements.
Solar Panels as a Decorative Patio Overhang
An architectural firm in Seattle incorporated PV panels into the design of contemporary patio homes as cantilevered patio covers. These urban dwelling units were designed with a south-facing orientation, placing the panels at an ideal angle for collecting sunlight. Doing double duty as door- and window-shade structures, the reflective surface of the panels lends a striking design element to the black aluminum window frames and warm tones of the wood exterior cladding.
PV Canopy Structure as a Poolside Arbor
In San Jose, one creative homeowner found a perfect decorative use for his solar panel system, creating a large poolside arbor shade structure topped with a large PV array. Decorative wrought-iron scrollwork was used in the support columns, which were painted to blend into the surrounding vegetation. A custom landscape design helped integrate the large structure, using in-ground and potted trees and sculptural plantings to create a dramatic outdoor space.
Tiny Houses Go Solar
The tiny house movement is gaining steam, as people increasingly seek scaled-back designs that allow them to live independently. The owners of one famous micro dwelling known as the Tiny Tack House designed an off-grid system to fully support their 140-square-foot home on wheels. The house, infused with light, features 11 windows and a gabled roof with tiny dormers. Designing the power system presented a challenge, since the panels could not be roof mounted. The array was attached to a ground-mounted rack system. With a carefully selected water heater and appliances, the residents are able to live completely off the grid for six months of the year, even in the less sunny climes of Washington state.
You can incorporate your solar power system in countless creative ways, and Intermountain Wind and Solar is committed to designing an alternative power solution that works for your lifestyle and goals. If you are a resident of Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado or Idaho, contact Intermountain today for more information on decorative solar applications.