Interesting Patents: Tesla’s Camouflaging Solar Panels

U.S. Patent No. 10,937,915 Obscuring, color matching, and camouflaging solar panels

Assignee: Tesla, Inc.This week Tesla was issued a patent regarding a method of obscuring, color matching, and camouflaging solar panels. Tesla’s patent appears to be directed towards disguising roof-mounted solar panels through the use of a layered encapsulation method with a specifically structured shutter. While the encapsulation on the bottom and slides is made to blend in with the surrounding environment the shutters on the top are cut into a vertical sawtooth pattern to disrupt the view of the solar panels from certain angles.

The material used for encapsulation has very specific optical properties. When viewed from the side angle the material has a specific color but as the angle of viewing becomes more perpendicular to the solar panels the material becomes transparent. Through the analysis of roof pitch, location, and surrounding geography these shutters can be used to hide the solar cells from the view of the general public while still remaining transparent at the incident angle of the sun with minimal impact on the overall efficiency of the panel. With Tesla having teased solar roofs for a long time it will be interesting to see how they can incorporate this into their product. In the future, it would be interesting to see if these shutters could be used as a way to re-direct solar energy towards the panels when the sun is at a non-optimal angle.

Written by John DeStefano, Technical Advisor
March 2, 2021

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