If you're a homeowner who wants to install solar technology but would prefer to stay away from the raised beds of panels that you typically see on roofs, you do have a couple of options. Adding solar energy to your home can save you a lot of money on electricity, and companies are trying to improve the technology daily. Here are two current options that you can use instead of panels, plus an up-and-coming option that may see more household use soon.
Solar trackers are semi-mobile units that literally track the sun's movement across the sky. The units themselves are permanently installed in the ground, but the panels move as the sun moves. These trackers aren't new by any means, but they're not used for a lot of homes simply because the roof panels are more common and don't require extra land for installation.
However, if you live in a home surrounded by tall trees, your roof might not be the best place to get the most efficient solar-to-electricity conversion. Solar panels will work when light is dim, but they won't get nearly the amount of energy out of dim light as they would bright light. So if your roof doesn't have that much exposure, but your yard does, you can install a solar tracker and get your solar energy that way.
If your roof gets plenty of bright sunlight, but you just don't want to deal with those fields of panels, there are solar tiles you can use. These are flexible small rectangles configured to look like typical dark shingles, and they rest right against the surface of the roof. These are wired into your home's electricity system just like regular panels, but the physical profile of the tiles is lower, and they stand out less.
This is a newer technology that turns clear glass into a solar cell. Current versions aren't as efficient as typical solar cells, but the material is already in use in the Netherlands on a highway as a combination solar energy producer and sound barrier. The clear (and in the case of the highway, red and yellow) panels could turn your windows into solar cells, for example, eliminating the need to have clunky panels installed on your roof.
If you want more options for solar energy, talk to solar installers to find out the latest news about what alternatives have hit the market. Solar energy is a great option to add to your home, so keep checking until you find the right styles for you. Contact a business, such as AAA Solar Source, for more information.