If you live in a hot climate, your air conditioner probably consumes the most electricity throughout the summer. So, keeping your home cool while harnessing the sun’s energy to create power is a double win. Can solar panels give the same benefit? If so, how much?
Do Solar Panels Help Insulate a Roof?
Solar panels insulate your roof a little. It is possible to lower summer roof temperatures by 5F and winter roof temperatures by a similar amount. Solar panels have the principal temperature benefit of cooling.
It depends on your living conditions how much colder your house will be in the summer and how much heat loss you may expect in the winter evenings.
Among the most important factors are:
- Is the roof insulated externally?
- Is your attic or basement empty?
- Has it been ventilated?
- How insulated is the attic?
- How much of the roof do the panels cover?
It is a free advantage of your solar panels. Use it, especially in the summer.
Why Are Roofs So Hot?
On a sunny day, walking across a blacktop parking lot seems like a 20F increase. It’s not all in your head – temperature affects surface material. You can notice the difference between blacktop and grass.
Roofs are no exception. Dark roofs absorb light (up to 90% of solar energy) and return it to the atmosphere as heat. White ones reflect light instead of absorbing it. Green roofs, on the other hand, absorb and utilize sunlight.
Rooftop Material Variations
Dark roofs are the hottest. While most are supposed to last 20 years or more, black roofs may suffer due to heat accelerated material degradation. Older roofs have a considerable effect.
Metal roofs may get heated. That’s why roofers prefer metal roofing that has been painted with BASF paint during the manufacturing process. After installation, paint the roof, but it’s easier to buy it pre-painted.
They are up to 50% cooler than black roofs and up to 30% cooler than gravel. The technology allows you to choose contemporary Pantone colors while still decreasing roof temperatures. For vegetative roofs, nothing surpasses a living, breathing cooling system.
Why are green roofs so cool?
On most days, a vegetative roof feels cold to the touch because it is totally shadowed by a dense canopy of plants. Veggie roofs help reduce the heat island effect by reducing the amount of heat reflected back into the sky. Read more at Science Direct.
Is Solar Power Hot?
The sun uses light or heat to create electricity.
The fact that there are many forms of solar electricity adds to the confusion.
Solar thermal uses the sun’s rays to create heat for domestic hot water or steam to power turbines and generate energy. Their operation requires intricate interaction with hot water systems.
Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels directly convert light into electricity. Many believe the most efficient site to generate power using PV solar panels is a hot desert where everything bakes. They’re dead wrong. Photovoltaic solar panels operate better in lower temperatures.
How Do Solar Panels Cool Roofs?
It is critical to evaluate if and how solar panels keep buildings cool while discussing their efficiency, value for money, and practicality for individuals and companies.
First, it is important to note that solar panels should not be used as a substitute for insulation in construction or roofing. However, installing solar panels on your roof might help keep your building cool.
Do Solar Panels Cool Your Roof?
Most people are unaware of how much heat energy a dark surface can absorb. On a hot summer day, a rooftop may reach 70C.
While roofing materials are designed to withstand extreme heat, the heat can accelerate material deterioration. The heat from your roof will heat up your home or structure. Even if your building and roof are adequately ventilated, your air conditioner will still be overworked.
Is it true that solar panels cool your roof? Yes. Let us examine this more closely.
Do Solar Panels Cool Buildings?
Solar panels keep your building cool by minimizing the amount of heat collected by your roof. In fact, when solar panels convert sunlight into energy, they create heat. But this isn’t the case. In reality, the solar panels absorb heat from your roof.
But how can solar panels absorb heat to cool your roof?
Consider the concept of shading. On a sweltering day, the shade is best. Solar panels offer continuous shade on your roof, lowering the overall surface temperature.
A convection circulation removes much of the heat received by the panels. The convection current moves air between the panels and the roof. As air moves between the solar panels and the roof materials, the heat is dissipated, lowering the roof’s temperature and cooling the structure. Your roof may even feature tilting solar panels. Unlike conventional solar arrays, tilted arrays have more space between the panels and the roof. This widens the air path between the panels and the roof, boosting cooling.
Also, more efficient solar panels provide greater cooling. Inefficient solar panel conversion also generates heat. The more efficiently your solar panel converts sunlight into energy, the cooler it runs and the better it cools your roof.
A team of researchers from UC San Diego showed that panels might lower a roof’s surface temperature by up to 38%. Considering the ambient and roof temperatures in Australia, that’s tremendous. While amazing, each solar array is unique. The results will vary based on your solar placement and roof architecture, panel surface area, and panel type.
Solar panels help keep your roof cool by capturing energy that would otherwise be used to heat your building. This energy is then used to power your building and appliances.
Finally, solar panels can reduce climate damage to your roof by reducing Thermal Shock
In some climates, your roof can get very hot during the day and cool down quickly at night. Extreme temperature changes cause roofing materials to expand and compress. Thermal stress can cause bending and gaps between roofing materials over time.
Solar panels can assist reduce thermal shock by keeping the roofing materials cool. After the sun sets, the solar panels will help the roof retain heat and slow down the cooling of the roofing materials. Thermal shock is decreased, extending the life of your roofing material and protecting the roof structure.