Would you like your solar panels in blue-black, blue-black or blue-black? For years, that’s been your only efficient choice. But researchers recently announced they’ve discovered a way to make the panels bright green.

Once we’ve gone green, can other colorations be far behind? Imagine terra cotta for roofs, green or brown for ground-level panels camouflaged by natural areas, and white, taupe and every other color for exterior walls and outbuildings.

Color panels are currently being made but they are only about 50% as efficient as the ubiquitous blue-black PV panels. The new green panels, which infuse color via “nanocylinders”, rather than a coating or reflective dye, are about 90% as efficient in generating electricity.

A new solar color palette may well incentivize installation for property owners who believe in sustainability principles, but want their solar to aesthetically blend in with their site and architecture.

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By Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD + C President, Metropolitan Valuation Services

As the cost of solar products rapidly decreases, the cost of acquiring new customers is substantially increasing. Thus, it’s no surprise that when homeowners complained about the same old/same old look of solar panels, manufacturers responded with design-focused solutions for 2019.

This year’s new products will include frameless panels, a response to consumers disliking existing frame appearance. The upside is a fresher, cleaner look. The downside is the need for new mounting systems.

Also new is clear solar panels encased between two pieces of glass that not only harness sunlight but bring it beautifully indoors via skylights, atriums and windows for a natural-light rich interior environment.

Next up are double-sided panels that harvest energy from both sunlight and reflections from a roof or the ground. Ever get snow glare? That gives you an idea of how these dual panels would work on snow-covered, white and bright ground.

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You’ve seen the pictures. The stork wrapped and trapped in plastic. The tortoise with a stomach full of plastic pieces. The little seahorse swimming along with a Q-tip as his mate. The beached whale dead from eating plastic bags, plastic cups, flip flops and tangled string.

All the photos are sad and shocking. But the whale was in Indonesia and the turtle in Thailand. And what does it have to do with you?

If you’re willing to dive into a brilliant, in-depth article in the February 4th issue of The New Yorker, you’ll find your answer. The article focuses on a 22-year-old entrepreneur who is also a visionary, puzzle solver and environmentalist. His organization is called Ocean CleanUp which we’ve written about on Linked In and in our company blog.

Here’s a taste of the article’s contents… “…numerous studies have shown that microplastic is everywhere—in the melting ice of the Arctic, in table salt, in beer, in shrimp scampi. A study last year found traces of it in eighty-three per cent of tap-water samples around the world. (The incidence was highest in the United States, at ninety-four percent.)”

From the online journal PLOS One: “…more than 5.2 trillion particles of plastic were swirling in the planet’s oceans, and, in time, much of it would be ingested by ocean dwellers and by creatures that eat fish, including people.”

Microplastics are also on every beach in the world, including the one in front of the $20,000 a month Hamptons beach house you’re thinking about renting this summer.

Read all about it here: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/02/04/a-grand-plan-to-clean-the-great-pacific-garbage-patch

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