While scientists work to increase the efficiency of photovoltaics, designers are striving to make them sleeker, more adaptive, and easier to install. Case in point: SRS Energy’s Solé Power Tile, a beautiful solar shingle that is designed to fit into standard Mission style roofs while generating electricity. We caught up with these ingenious modular solar panels at West Coast Green this year, where they stole the show alongside several other innovative solar designs.

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SRS Energy’s Solé Power Tiles are electricity-generating panels that are designed to be easily integrated with US Tile’s curved clay tiles, which have been Cradle-to-Cradle certified, which is frankly awesome. Due to their modular nature these thin-film panels are easy to pop in, and homeowners can choose whether they’d like their whole roof clad in solar panels or only a strategic sun-facing portion. Few non-believers will be able to use the ‘ugly roof’ argument anymore.

Another new solar design showcased at West Coast Green was Armageddon Energy’s ‘snap-in’ hexagonal photovoltaic panel. This self-contained solar set is light and easy to set up, making installing solar more like dropping in a dishwasher than doing a full kitchen remodel. Each panel is made up of three 10-12 pound silicon hexagonal panels and a micro inverter (significantly lighter than standard panels). They are planning on launching this easy-to-install PV system in about 8 months at $6 a watt. By making solar safer and easier for everyone they are pushing the much needed design side improvments that are needed to make solar electricity the norm.

+ SRS Energy

+ Armageddon Energy

+ West Coast Green 2009 Coverage