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Solar panels are ready for their close-up

Avatar for Ben Zientara
Published on 09/12/2017 in
Updated 09/28/2017
A camera taking a photo of solar panels in a field

A while back, some smart person at the U.S. Department of Energy realized that many of the freely-available stock photos of solar panels were ugly at best, and actively harmful to the goals of the industry at worst. So the Department organized a contest for photos of solar panels called “Hit Me With Your SunShot.”

The contest ran from July 17th through August 17th, 2017, and winners were announced just days later. Every image that was submitted was entered to win one of several cash prizes, up to $500 for the grand prize. The photos were posted to DoE’s flickr page, and made available for everyone to use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

Here’s the Grand Prize-winning image from the contest:
heliostats at sunrise at Crescent Dunes, Tonopah, Nevada

Heliostats at sunrise at Crescent Dunes, Tonopah, Nevada (photographer: Ivan Boden)

Pretty cool, huh? And that one isn’t eve our favorite! Now, we’re not saying that every image submitted was professional quality. The DoE doesn’t have a lot of followers on social media, so the submissions mainly came from solar installers, salespeople, and advocates.

That’s not to say there aren’t some really incredible photos in the batch, but wading through the hundreds of photos and finding the gems isn’t exactly a fun time… Which is why you should be glad we did the work for you.

Without further ado, here are Solar Power Rocks’ favorite photos from the “Hit Me With Your SunShot” contest!

The parking lot of the future, today!

A solar panel-covered parking lot

A solar panel-covered parking lot at Arizona State University (photographer: Michael Nothum)

This Arizona State parking lot is the perfect place for your next tailgate party! Ditch the sunscreen and bask in the shade the panels provide. It’ll keep your vehicle out of the hot Arizona sun, and maybe even help you beer stay cool, too!

The feeling you get when you know your electricity comes from your roof

Solar smiles

A fisheye lens makes rows of solar panels look like big, toothy smiles (photographer: Olivia Martin)

Mary, Mary, quite extraordinary, how does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockle shells and pretty panels all in a row…

Solar can be aspirational

A Massachusetts estate with a big solar array

Now this is solar living (photographer: Chris Wingard)

Jeeves, pull the Tesla around… no not the blue one… the red one.

Or, it can be simple

An off-grid solar installation in Connecticut

No wait, this is solar living (photographer: Fred Ball)

Hey man, all you need is a dog, a couple Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, and enough solar to keep the beer cold.

Or it could be aspirational and down-to-earth

A solar-powered farm in Iowa

A solar-powered farm in Iowa (photographer: Mike Brummer)

A three-car garage and a four-horse barn. Luxury meets earthiness.

Somewhere over the the rooftop

A rainbow of solar panels designed to blend in with roof shingles

A rainbow of solar panels designed to blend in with roof shingles (photographer: Senthil Balasubramanian)

Man, we’re not sure if people want panels that look a lot like panels but with pictures of their roof on top, but this rainbow is kinda cool! These are called SolarSkin panels from Sistine Solar, and they can be decorated to look like whatever you want.

Everything in its right place

A roof showing solar panel racks before final installation

A roof showing solar panel racks before final installation (photographer: Lucas Martin)

These Invisimount racks are perfectly installed with water-tight flashing and feet. An installation like this used to take a couple days, but with modern techniques and equipment, a team of a few people can have a system like this done by lunch time.

Snow falling on panels

New Hampshire barn with snowy solar panels

New Hampshire never looked better (photographer: William Byers)

Speaking of before lunch, the dusting of snow on those panels will melt by midday, and they’ll be kicking out the kilowatts again in no time.

And finally…

Solar is for cool cats

A cat looks at solar panels

Cat on a hot tin roof (photographer: Odette Mucha)

The photographer might not be a pro, but this cat sure knows its stuff.

That’s all folks! Check out the whole gallery here, and hey, if you have any pictures of your own solar you’d like to see featured on this site, feel free to reach out to us.

Last modified: September 28, 2017

2 thoughts on “Solar panels are ready for their close-up

  1. Avatar for Dick B Dick B says:

    I have a 12kw 48 panel system. Nuclear is much cheaper and extremely safe.

  2. Avatar for William solomons William solomons says:

    Would like to share with family. The share spot disappeared, boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo

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