What Are Black Solar Shades and What Do They Do?

Solar shades help block sunlight and ultraviolet rays from your home with additional benefits compared to conventional blinds.

By Jessi Minneci


In the same way that we prepare our homes for the winter season each year, we should make special accommodations for the bright and sweltering summer months. Installing black solar shades this spring (or even before this winter is over) will give you a leg up on beating the upcoming heat.  


What are Solar Shades?

Solar shades, also referred to as solar screens or blinds, preform a number of functions that are not necessarily practical when it comes to fabric or plastic shades and window coverings. Solar shades for windows are made of special mesh – often a polyester weave with PVC coating.  They are typically installed on the outside of windows, essentially acting as an exterior window sun screens that black out the light.




These high-durability window screens have the ability to dramatically reduce incoming sun rays throughout the home, reduce heat via sunlight, and reduce glare, all while maintaining a view or partial view to the outside. 


And when it comes to color, black solar shades offer a sleek and contemporary treatment for the sweltering summer sun so that we can better control interior temperatures, save money on our air conditioning bill, and keep our home (and family) calm, cool, and collected.


Black Solar Shade Functions

Compared to conventional drapes, shutters, and blinds, solar shades offer a variety of benefits:


  • Solar shades prevent harmful contact with Ultraviolet rays: black solar shades block harmful UV rays from entering your home. When a person is overexposed to UV rays, illnesses and harmful skin disorders may result. Solar shades block out the harmful rays of light, protecting your family AND your furniture. After all, too much exposure to sunlight and your vibrant furniture has the possibility of fading and discoloration.

  • Solar shades are cost effective. Blocking the sunlight out of your home using solar shades reduces indoor temperatures during hot summer days. Because of this, there’s a reduced the need for your indoor air conditioner. Furthermore, if you choose to install solar shades yourself, they can cost less than $50 for an average 35-by-70-inch window. Compared to complete window replacement or treatment, this is definitely a cheaper option!
    • What are the best solar shades for blocking heat? If your goal is maximum heat blockage, 90 percent grade black solar shades are the way to go. However, they may make the home noticeably darker and slightly restrict visibility.
    • If you don’t need the maximum coverage, we suggest 80 percent black solar screens. They cool the home, while allowing more natural light and outward visibility.

  • Solar shades enhance your interior comfort. Solar shades mitigate bright glares (visible spectrum rays) that can be very irritating to the human eye. The direct light that is permitted by a regular shade often hits surfaces within our homes and reflects back, causing discomfort and potential harm. These glares can also make it difficult to work or watch television. With solar shades, you no longer have to worry about such discomfort!




Tip: Pay Attention to the Weave

The mesh used to make solar shades has an openness factor which relating to the tightness of the weave.  A black solar shade with a loser weave will have a higher openness (density) value, say, 15 percent, allowing for more view to the outside (but also more light to pass through).  On the other hand, a low openness factor will block more light and provide less view through.   




Color also plays a part. Black solar shades provide the best glare reduction and, contrary to popular belief, allow for a better view to the outdoors. Choosing a lighter color shade, such as white or cream, will result in more heat blockage but less view to the outside during the day. 


Solar Screen Drawbacks

As mentioned before, these screens (especially when black), are very dark. Therefore, from an aesthetic standpoint, they hold the possibility of making both the interior and exterior of the home appear darker. From a design point of view, this is not always conducive to the look that you are going for with your home. If you are considering installing solar shades, you may want to check if the installer will allow you to sample a swatch beforehand. 


Reducing the light levels in the interior of your home may also lead you to spend more money on your monthly electric bill in order to compensate for lost natural light. Although solar shades allow you to save money and energy via heat, you may want to consider the areas of your home that will become too dark with solar shades.


As soon as we know it, the winter will be melting away and summer sun will be fast approaching. And though we enjoy basking in the long, luxurious days of light, it’s important to be proactive in keeping your home cool and comfortable this summer.


Installing solar shades can help you cool down your home and stay green this summer.


Images used with permission, courtesy of Przemysław Kozieł and www.shutterstock.com

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