Lets face it, conventional silver framed solar panels are not attractive. Accounting for most of the UK's installations they often don't look great, certainly on peoples homes, and usually less so on commercial premises.
Historically black panels have been more expensive, with customers having to fork out sometimes thousands extra for black frames. However recent price drops have brought black panels down to close to the same price as conventional silver framed ones, helped by increased demand for the mroe aesthetically pleasing version.
New customers can now, having previously missed out on higher subsidies (at higher installation prices), can now at least be proud to have a much nicer sleeker installation as they go green.
A 6kWp installation in Leatherhead installed by Infinite Energy in early 2015. The customer initially wanted to put panels around the back where they couldn't be seen and was not keen on them being visible, but when we showed him previous black panel systems he decided to go for a 24 panel with black on black 265w panels from Seraphim.
This? Conventional solar panels
Or This? Black on black solar panels
Commercial installations are also increasing, we installed a 47kWp system for a Oxley Sports Centre in Sherborne in March 2015. The roof in question was on a south facing aspect for Sherborne girls school, a private school in Dorset, in partnership with reenergise.
Initially the specification was for conventional panels to match the budget, however we soon discovered that for only £1,000 more, we could use black panels instead, providing the same performance for a fractionally higher price, but with much more favourable look.
The issue was raised by Greg Barker, the former climate secretary, who said
“If it’s important enough that we have good design on major public buildings then it’s important that we have that on people homes.“Actually installing solar panels should look nice, or enhance the visual amenity of that building. And I’m glad to see that a lot of responsible developers and installers are now thinking about that and are using products that mean that solar looks attractive. Not standing out like an eyesore – those bright blue panels with aluminium standing proud on a tile roof.”