A big criticism of solar in the past was the unsightly, glaring, obnoxious look of solar panels on the roof or in the yard. Many of the myths, such as glare and the dangers of panels shattering or blowing away, have been debunked. Yet, in many neighborhoods and towns, the aesthetic question still lingers and even thrives. Even with the advent of building integrated systems, it is time to reclaim the neighborhood as a place for solar to thrive, not shaded in shame.
First of all, solar has progressed so much since the early days of fearful, knee-jerk reactions to PV panels. Thanks to more efficient, grid-tied systems, one resident’s solar energy system not only provides power for just that one home, but can also provide excess, clean power for other neighborhood homes. And the more homes in a neighborhood that have solar PV, the more excess power sent back to the grid and recycled into more neighbors’ homes. Heck, pretty soon you could have a self-sufficient neighborhood providing energy for the town as a whole, and so on and so forth it goes. Such is the grassroots dream of solar energy…and it all starts with the neighborhood.
Also, solar panels are no longer just a trend, or fad. They are a beacon of the future of energy production. A neighborhood with solar homes is not an eyesore but a stand-out, a leader in an emerging, user-friendly, independent, renewable energy field. You can even think of it in terms of oil. Imagine when oil was first discovered in the western United States and the refining process mastered and industry revolutionized. How then did neighborhoods feel about an oil well in their backyard? Oil wells are certainly more of an eyesore than solar panels on a roof…yet towns all over the country sold the rights to harvest their oil because it was free energy, or should have been, and, at the time, the way of the future. Now solar energy, among other renewables, is taking the place of fossil fuels as the future of energy and the benefits far outstrip those of its predecessors.
Solar is good for the neighborhood because solar is good for the world. We have moved into a world where neighborhoods are no longer restricted by fences and gates. It is now a global neighborhood, a very large neighborhood, and a neighborhood that consumes energy at a very high rate. And solar is a viable way to keep that neighborhood up and running…a good thing for sure.
Solar panels in a given neighborhood usually begin with one pioneering homeowner, who awakens the curiosity and admiration of the entire block. In fact, solar contractors say that installing panels on one home usually results in requests for work from more than one neighbor. With a rising environmental consciousness present in the remodeling and real estate industries, it’s not a surprise that buying a home with existing solar panels raises a home’s value significantly.
To get your neighborhood up and running with solar, click here.