Gallery: Study Discovers That Solar Panels Have a Cooling Effect on Bui...


It turns out that solar panels can do more than provide you with renewable energy – they can significantly cut down the power needed to heat and cool your building as well. In a study recently released in the journal Solar Energy, an engineering team at UC San Diego found that the presence of solar panels on rooftops keeps buildings an average of 5 degrees Fahrenheit cooler during the day and keeps heat in during the nighttime, which could save cash on heating costs in the winter.

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  1. Rapier July 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    It’s a simple energy balance equation: Absorbtivity plus reflectance plus transmission equals 100%. Good solar panels take 20% off the top by converting it to electricity. So, they should cause 80% as much radiant heat gain as a roof tile the same color.

    Elevating them over the roof acts as a heat shield, cutting radiant heat gain by 50% or more, for about a 60% reduction in solar heat gain on the part of the roof they cover.

  2. Buildingwell July 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    The results of this study are very promising. This may help to encourage additional building owners to consider solar installations with the added benefit of reducing heating/cooling needs. There are of course many considerations to think about when installing solar for your building:

  3. sempergreen July 19, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    If you combine solar panels with a green roof you save even more money.
    A green roof will extend the life of the waterproofing membrane that the solar panels are installed on top of and will keep the roof even cooler.
    The biggest cost of solar is not the panels themselves but theinitial installation and take-down of the system in case the waterproofing needs to be replaced. (roughly after 20 years)
    Extend the lifespan of the membrane and save big $$$. Just my 2 cents..

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