Solar Panels

Why Aren’t There Circular Solar Panels?

By:Michael Johns

three circular solar panels

Why do all solar panels seem to be square or rectangular and not circular…

I feel like there is a large gap in the design of these products that would make them more aesthetically pleasing.

And there’s got to be some practical application for circular solar panels that nobody has thought about.

Well while I was thinking about the subject I thought I’d share these thoughts and research into the topic with you, dear reader.

Can Solar Panels be Circular?

Yes solar panels can be round, in fact there are a selection of very bespoke designs you can find. But you generally can’t just buy a circular solar panel off the shelf, it needs to be specially made.

The reason most are rectangles is two fold. Firstly, solar cells are a square shape which makes manufacturing them into a neat four sided rectangle a no-brainer. And the industry has built its manufacturing process on these standard shapes. 

Even when you do create a round solar panel, the structure of the solar cells is still rectangle, square, or jagged. It’s not possible to get a clean curved edge with standard solar cells.

Adding to this, you’ll find solar panels are often placed on building roofs which have geometry suited to straight edged panels. You can place the solar panels side by side without any needless gaps. Rectangles use the space available more efficiently than circular shapes. In fact, you can even find triangle solar panels now to complement the architecture of a rooftop.

3 Cool Round Solar Panel Designs

While it is tricky to create round solar panels it doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Here are some clever ideas for using circular solar panels:

One of the most unique design ideas is to use multiple solar panels in order to create a circular shape resembling a flower. This cool sun tracking system has 12 panels designed on the concept of petals of a flower.

This is a genius concept to use solar panels as sun umbrellas. It’s the perfect combination. Sun umbrellas are used specifically to block out the midday sun, so why not take advantage of the situation?

If you’re looking for a fountain or birdbath feature for your backyard then a round solar panel comes in handy. This waterproof design uses a bespoke layout of solar cells to produce its circular shape.