Solar Nerd articles about: Design

← View all topics

Photo of all-black SunPower solar panels.
How do you improve the curb appeal of solar panels?
I personally like the look of solar panels on my house. I think they’re interesting to look at, and they’re often a conversation starter. But my solar panels face the backyard away from the street, so even if I didn’t like how they look, people casually passing by don’t see them. Not everyone has that choice: typically, you want your solar panels pointed south to capture as much sunlight as possible, but doing that might mean facing the panels toward the curb.
An example of a net zero home. Credit: Lord Contractors
Net zero homes explained (with 7 beautiful examples)
A net zero house is one that generates as much energy as it uses. Seems amazing, right? Even better: these homes look fantastic too. Think of all the things in your home that need power, from top to bottom: lights, cooking appliances, washer and dryer, heating and cooling, hot water, and lots of electronics. These things require a lot of electricity, but you probably have some appliances powered by fossil fuels: natural gas, heating oil, and propane are common heating fuels, depending on where you live.
Solar awning on a Los Angeles home. Credit: Lumos Solar
7 creative ideas for solar canopies and carports
A lot of the time, homeowners feel the need to hide their solar panels by mounting them on a rooftop away from the street. But with a little creativity, solar panels can be used as an attractive architectural design element. One of the underappreciated characteristics of solar panels is that they can be used to provide shade. With some smart design, you can make use of this by integrating solar panels into shading structures for your homes, such as pergolas, canopies, and carports.