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What's New Under the Sun

In an effort to keep the wave of interest in solar power rolling merrily along, manufacturers are introducing new solar panels that are sleeker and more powerful than their predecessors.

For instance, Sharp Electronics Corp., based in Mahwah, N.J., recently introduced new 62-watt solar modules that are designed to integrate seamlessly with Monier Lifetile, Hanson and Eagle Roofing concrete roof tiles. Each solar module replaces five flat concrete tiles and is resistant to moisture, impact and high winds.

The modules have a surface texture that increases light absorption and efficiency, and bypass diodes that minimize the power drop caused by shade from trees or other obstructions. They are designed for easy installation with no additional roof framing required. For more information: or 800-237-4277.

Marlboro, Mass.-based Evergreen Solar has just come out with its new Spruce series of photovoltaic panels, which are approximately 50 percent more efficient than the company's Cedar line of panels. Available in 170-watt, 180-watt and 190-watt sizes, the Spruce panels have higher-efficiency solar cells and anti-reflective-coated glass, so they can absorb more of the sun's energy. They are designed for a variety of grid-connected and off-grid applications. For more information: or 508-357-2221.

Also new are SolarSave Roofing Membrane photovoltaic modules from Open Energy Corp., based in Solana Beach, Calif. Designed for use on flat and low-sloped roofs, the 450-watt, 4-by-8-foot modules can create a completely waterproof solar roof with no penetrations; they are lightweight, hail-resistant and wind-resistant. No rack-mounting hardware is required. For more information: or 858-794-8800.