Solar Skins: What Are They?

There’s been a growing buzz around solar energy systems over the past decades. With that, a relatively new player has emerged in the market in recent years – solar skins. 

Solar panels are no strangers to the average modern homeowner. While they can provide a clean, renewable, and sustainable alternative energy source, sometimes their benefits are overlooked because of their unappealing outlook among other shortcomings. 

Luckily, solar skins are a great option to overcome this disadvantage. 

So, let’s take a deeper look at what they are and how they can make your life better. 

What is solar skin?

For a start, imagine a solar skin as a piece of clothing for an existing solar panel. It acts not only as a decorative item but also as a shield. 

Designed to camouflage into its surroundings, the printable PV sheet can support a wide range of colors and patterns. From shake-style shingles to Spanish tiles, solar panels of any style can blend seamlessly into the background with the help of solar skins. 

Solar Skin

Photo by Green World Investors

Aside from that, users can also opt to stand out from the crowd by printing vibrant texts or artwork on their solar skins. However, the efficiency of energy generation might differ according to the complexity of the image printed. 

How does solar skin work? 

Essentially, a solar skin is a thin sheet of material that allows light to penetrate through it. Thus, sunrays are still able to reach the photovoltaic cells of the solar panels beneath with little to no obstruction. 

However, for this to happen, these graphic overlay protectors are manufactured with a selective light filtration system that preserves up to 99% of the energy yield from natural sunlight. 

This innovative solar skin technology is celebrated for its ability to allow ample sunlight to be filtered through the thin membrane while retaining its opaque property at the same time. How miraculous is this? 

Solar skins pros and cons

Like all things, solar skins come with pros and cons. Why don’t we compare them below?  


  • With solar skin, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds – saving 30 to 50% on electricity bills while keeping the original design of your roof or even improving it visually.
  • As the name suggests, solar skins are compatible with any solar module on the market, saving you the restriction of purchasing only a specific brand or model. 
  • Solar skins can increase the durability of your solar panels. The layer of film also protects the underlying arrays from UV corrosion and chemical degradation. 


  • Naturally, an additional skin to your existing solar panels means an add-on cost. This downside might be negligible for homeowners who are looking to go green but are put off by the look of traditional solar panels. 
  • There’s a possibility that the extra PV skin might affect the efficiency of the underlying solar panels. Nonetheless, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Lab in the US are looking to improve efficiency through product R&D testing. 

Will solar skin impact solar panel efficiency? 

The short answer is yes, but don’t go just yet. 

The main reason one might look into installing solar skins is to improve the outlook of their home and to create a seamless appearance of the solar panels on their roofs. 

For domestic purposes, solar skins offer little to no loss in energy yield due to the simple printed designs. A straightforward print pattern makes it easier for photons (particles of light) to penetrate the thin film and reach the solar cells beneath. 

Businesses may also utilize solar skin technology to promote their brand creatively by displaying a logo or certain texts on the solar panels on their building and property.

In commercial settings, the yield of solar skins ranges from 92% to 99%, depending on the vibrance and complexity of the image of choice. This is because color pigments that are integrated into the film may obstruct the transmission of light. 

All in all, the simpler the design of your print, the better solar skins can uphold the efficiency of your panels. 

For more on solar panel efficiency, read ‘How to increase solar panel efficiency?’

Solar skin companies

Solar skins were developed by Sistine Solar in 2016, a startup company founded by the Sloan School of Management at MIT. The patented novel technology has been approved and awarded by the US Department of Energy. 

While solar skins are compatible to be installed on any type of solar panel in the market, it’s recommended to pair yours with those from Sistine Solar’s trusted partner companies. 

Solar skin by Sistine Solar

Photo by Sistine Solar

Sistine Solar works with top solar technology companies such as Solaria, LG, Samsung, and Q CELLS to provide high-quality monocrystalline panels. The installation process is done by themselves in the US or through their partner companies. 

Should you get solar skins for your home? 

Now that we’ve understood a little more about solar skins, you must be asking yourself: Should I get it? 

If you’re eager to upgrade the jarring and monotonous look of solar panels to enhance the appearance of your home, solar skins might be able to help. 

Aside from its visual advantages, solar skins can protect your energy-providing equipment by acting as a protective sheath, thus increasing its lifespan. Overall, you won’t only be saving on electricity but also maintenance fees. 

If the above criteria are what you’re looking for, solar skins are the answer for you. 

How much do solar skins cost? 

Currently, you can expect around a 10% increase in cost with installing solar skins. 

However, from a wider perspective, the protection and preservation this technology gives your solar energy system in the long run calls off a significant amount of unnecessary spending on support and repair. 


Solar skins bring a perfect balance between sustainability and style to your home without having to choose one over the other. 

Albeit the heightened starting cost, this novel technology can definitely save you a ton of money while improving the aesthetic value of your home, making it a worthwhile long-term investment. 

For more on the latest in solar technology, check out Just Solar and the following articles:

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