Remember when solar was something some people wanted to hide away on their roofs or behind their homes or businesses?
Imagine this being something that we said, looking back with amusement, five years from now. Now imagine that shift in perspective happening only two years from now, or even sooner.
For some people, finding ways to mask and mitigate the aesthetic impacts of a solar array is still of primary concern.
There’s a new movement emerging in solar design to make solar more prominent, as a proud and public display for companies and individuals. It’s focused on integrating solar generating materials into aesthetically pleasing, yet fully functional and cost-effective designs. This has resulted in a new metric called “return on visibility.”
Think of taking a portion of the solar that’s currently hidden on a company’s roof or tucked into their backyard and, instead, placing it front and center for all to see. Consider, for the forward-thinking and discerning consumer, how a visually striking solar display can increase the appeal and value of a neighborhood.
The majority of people appreciate solar and other forms of renewable energy and want to see more of it in use. Likewise, people ascribe positive attributes to organizations that are leading the way and investing in clean energy. This makes sense. We know that people prefer to do business with organizations that are good stewards of the environment and their communities.
That is why we think it’s time to upend the old way of thinking. Instead of concealing a solar array, display it proudly and prominently! Instead of merely putting panels on your roof, imagine installing a visually stimulating and fully functional solar sculpture on your front lawn.
AllEarth Renewables has entered this new, visible-with-intention solar marketplace with the brand new PowerFlower. Planned for limited release in Vermont during the summer of 2019, the PowerFlower aims to make a statement with solar, while making no compromises in terms of functionality.
At the intersection of form and function, the PowerFlower, measures 15’ high at its steepest angle and generates about 2,500 kWh/yr, depending upon its location. Need more clean electricity? Add another PowerFlower or string together up to five. Designed with ease of use in mind, this can be a backyard project for the do-it-yourselfer. Or, you can have an authorized installer do it for you.
And why not proudly display solar? It’s already happening in much of Vermont and New Hampshire where solar density is on the rise.
Over the last ten years, as our market has experienced significant growth for individuals and businesses, the benefits of going solar are increasingly well-defined. Solar brings value in the form of cost savings, consistency in energy costs, and environmental benefits. A solar adopter gets the value of taking control of their energy, locking in their savings, and doing their part to stave off the worst of global warming.
Now, the “softer” elements of solar are opening the market to another wave of consumers that appreciate the elegance of moving structures that make clean energy. New products, like the AllEarth PowerFlower, are embracing the visual aspects of renewable generation and re-imagining aesthetic impacts as a value-adder.
One of the keys to moving a new technology from the early adoption phase and into the mainstream is for that technology to be visible and easy to use. ‘The neighbor effect’ helps do just that, not only in solar, but for other technologies early in the adoption curve. When we know our friends, neighbors, or coworkers are doing something, we become more likely to do it ourselves.
The collective impact of making solar more visible, in an appealing way, is to cause more people to think ‘it might be time for me to do this myself, either for my business or my home.’ This is the true return on visibility.
A whole new wave of solar is being introduced that’s challenging the status quo of solar design. With the introduction of new and visually stimulating products like the PowerFlower, isn’t it time we all started to reimagine what our solar future really looks like?
Wayne Maceyka is Director of Marketing and Sales at AllEarth Renewables. Maceyka has been in Vermont’s solar community since 2014. He resides in Hinesburg with his family, plug-in hybrid, and 6.7kW solar system. As a recovering engineer, he’s interested in how collaborating across institutions can help solve the climate crisis.