Turn buildings solar without compromising on style with ‘invisible’ panels

For all the benefits solar panels afford their owners, one thing they don’t do incredibly well is sit inconspicuously atop the roof of a home. In response, a small Italian company named Dyaqua has developed what it is calling Invisible Solar panels, and recently launched a funding campaign via Indiegogo. While not actually invisible, Dyaqua’s panels blend in so efficiently as a common construction material — think wood, concrete, slate, terracotta, or stone — they are essentially hidden from the naked eye.

Designed to help resemble a classic style of architecture, the panels are not only innovative but help potential new consumers of solar avoid slapping heaps of cumbersome panels on their residence. Made from non-toxic, recyclable materials, Dyaqua’s invention is so versatile they can be installed on a roof, as accents in a front yard, built into a breezeway, or installed as siding. Each piece’s top layer appears opaque to onlookers, yet solar rays still have the ability to seep through to the cleverly disguised photovoltaic cells underneath.

In 2009, a man by the name of Giovanni Quagliato set out to develop a revolutionary new solar panel product, leaning heavily on his extensive plastics and electrotechnology background. His initial idea was to manufacture a product capable of fitting on historic buildings located throughout Italy’s countryside. Not quite the typical recipient of modern day solar panels, Quagliato wanted to create something which did not alter a building’s natural appearance.

Aside from their aesthetic advantage, the company also says each of its unique panels boast extreme protection against impact or compression — hence the reason why it encourages people to install these where someone may walk each day. Save for someone dropping, say, a bowling ball on them, the panels should continue to function properly if stepped, driven, or jumped on.

However, like most great things, there is a catch. Despite how clever it is an innovation, Dyaqua’s panels are not quite as efficient as a standard solar array to the tune of just 25 percent as much energy production. Granted, these have the ability to be installed just about anywhere on a home — potentially dramatically increasing the production space — but a quarter of the return of a typical panel is certainly a large gap in efficiency.

As of publication, the campaign has yet to find any backers on Indiegogo though it is worth point out, Dyaqua recently launched the page. For around $100, it offers a wood, slate shingle, concrete brick, stone, or roof tile sample panel.

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