In pursuit of its plans to develop its Solar business, Tesla has filed a new patent "Obscuring, color matching, and camouflaging solar panels." It covers techniques for obscuring solar panels from certain sight lines or vantage points, color matching a backsheet of a solar panel with the cell of the panel, and camouflaging solar panels. The description of the colors and the shape of the tile presented in the patent hint at the emergence of new types of Tesla Solar Roof tiles.
A number of design tradeoffs exist for solar panels. It is beneficial for the solar panels to be efficient, inexpensive, and aesthetically pleasing, as they are installed in arrays. These arrays of solar panels may be considered eye-sores by some observers. Residential solar arrays, for example, are often mounted upon the roofs of homes and other buildings. When mounted on the roofs of homes, the solar panels mount parallel to the roofs. While this type of mounting technique is cost effective, the photovoltaic cells of the solar panels are visible to persons viewing the home or other structure, causing an unsightly appearance to the home, detracting from the aesthetics of the home. Such unsightly appearance may also violate restrictive covenants in some neighborhoods.
Thus, it is desirable for the solar panels to have the appearance of roofing material with the same/similar color to shingles. Further, it is desirable for the solar panels to have uniform perceived color across their areas and otherwise be visually appealing. The patent provides various techniques for improving the aesthetics and performance of solar panels.
FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating the relationship between a solar panel mounted on an angled roof of a dwelling, a pedestrian observer, and the sun.
When describing one of the encapsulant layers, the patent states that it will have a "louver,” which indicates that the solar tiles may be thicker or have a specific shape. Louvers will be used so that at different viewing angles, the solar cells in the tiles are not visible.
The patent describes that the invention can use various colors, including gray tones from dark to light, earth tones, cedar color or appearance, and a print appearance. Thus, the top encapsulant layer that includes the louvers may be constructed not only to cause the appearance of a particular color or colors from the side viewing angle but also a particular pattern or design, which may hint at the company's release of new tile color, for example, Slate solar tiles.
Slate solar shingles. Source: Tesla
The patent also states that the top layer may have a textured surface (textured glass), for example, in a saw tooth pattern. This saw tooth pattern may include a vertical wall on each tooth that assists in obscuring the view of a covered photovoltaic panel from a low viewing angle.
Also, in one of the drawings of the patent, a tile is shown in such a shape as Tuscan. Combined with the description of the colors, it can also give the impression that Tesla may be working on the release of the product that Elon Musk talked about back in 2016.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.