Announcements about new rooftop and ground-mounted solar installations come across our desks at Solar Power World daily, but some unique designs manage to stick out in our minds long after we report about them. Here are five of the most unusual solar installations we covered in 2020.
1. All Energy Solar installed this 43.12-kWDC vertical solar project on a commercial building in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The array is meant to function as both an energy generator and an art piece with modules installed at varying angles to add a wave pattern to the structure.
2. Installers left almost no surface un-paneled on this apartment building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The unusual solar layout was dreamt up by the Onion Flats architecture firm to maximize the PV output without having to subscribe to renewable energy credits.
3. This project is unique for its additional benefits to the building it powers. Sunfinity Renewable Energy installed the 56.9-kW project on the roof of AMP Studios, a Dallas, Texas, recording studio. The solar panels act as an additional layer of protection against noise from rain and other weather on the roof.
4. Same Sun of Vermont installed this branded solar project on top of the WhistlePig Rye Whiskey distillery. The company chose to use a custom SolarSkin module wrap to make their solar project do double duty as both electricity and publicity.
5. In another example of solar installation serving as art piece, South Texas Solar Systems installed this wall-mounted project for the community-based arts and cultural organization Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio, Texas. The "solar mural" depicts class photos from the local elementary school from 1906 and 2018, along with a quote by local Chicana poet Carmen Tafolla.