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Solar Panels: Eyesore or Symbol of Sustainability?

One of the misconceptions people often have about solar PV arrays mounted on homes is that they are “ugly.”(Incidentally, the same criticisms exist regarding wind farms.) But, as solar advocates know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To all of us here at EcoOutfitters, protecting Mother Earth by reducing carbon emissions is quite beautiful.

There are multiple options for mounting solar arrays:

  • On the front or rear of your home’s roof, depending on which way your house faces
  • Pole-mounted in your backyard
  • On the ground in your backyard
  • On the roofs of sheds, garages and other structures
  • As the roof of an awning

While most residential homes have roof-mounted solar panels, other options do exist. The point? If you (or your neighbors or your homeowners’ association) absolutely can’t tolerate roof mounted solar panels, consider other possibilities for solar energy.

Function Before “Beauty”
But let’s get to the heart of the matter. Many items in our everyday lives that serve a purpose aren’t necessarily attractive.

A clothes line for air drying laundry in the warmer weather? It saves money and helps the environment by reducing energy use … and there’s nothing quite like the scent and feel of air-dried clothes on a warm spring day! Is the clothes line beautiful landscaping? No, but it fills a need.

What about power lines and digital cable lines running up to our homes for that matter? Not pretty. But functional. Most people wouldn’t dream of giving up their cable and Internet access, and neighbors don’t complain about the look of the cables. They’re merely a fact of modern life.

And what about a satellite dish for digital TV and Internet? Again not pretty, but in areas that can’t get cable service, important.

Technology to Fill a Need
The only difference between solar panels and any of these technologies is how long they’ve been around and how many people have them. Solar panels are growing in popularity. In fact, you often notice that once one house in a neighborhood gets solar energy, their neighbors follow. Soon, the house without solar panels on its roof looks out of place.

Solar panels aren’t ugly or attractive — they just “are.” They’re tools that fill a need and accomplish a purpose. As more people understand the value of solar energy for reducing the United States’ reliance on foreign oil and other fossil fuels, what solar panels symbolize makes them beautiful: cleaner air, sustainability, and freedom (and lower electric bills, while we’re at it.)

I can’t think of a more attractive addition to my suburban home than a solar PV installation, really.

Post Written by
A full-time freelance writer, Dawn frequently covers energy efficiency, green living, and topics like LED lighting and whole home control systems for a number of blogs and technology trade magazines. Dawn is proud to live in New York as the state vies to beat out New Jersey as the East coast top dog of solar energy and is waiting for the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate legislation to pass before installing solar panels on her Long Island home.

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