According to a study made by researchers from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, solar panels have more advantages than just generating clean energy to the household. The found out that solar panel keeps houses cool in summer and warm in winter.
Photovoltaic solar panel is one of the most power sources of sustainable energy. Some people would even generate excess electricity that they sell back to the grid. Now the researchers are saying that the solar panels on the roof act as insulation from the heat and could decrease your air-conditioning bills.
They studied the benefits of rooftop solar panels through the use of thermal imaging cameras. They took heat radiation signature from roofs and the structures found on top. The researchers found out that the ceiling under a solar panel is 5 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than one exposed to the sun.
This means that cooling costs in the building is lowered during the day. It could lead to a 5 percent discount on the solar panel’s price during its lifetime. The cooling effect would also mean that the solar panels are giving 5 percent more electricity back to the grid because of the savings in air-conditioning.
The researchers said that the more efficient the solar panels are, the bigger the cooling effect they have. The team found out that the Powell Structural Systems Laboratory building can decrease the amount of heat by up to 38 percent. Bigger solar panels would provide more shade and the angled ones can have a cooler effect because of the air pockets trapped beneath them.
During the night, the solar panels act as insulation that prevents heat from escaping. This could lead to lower heating costs in winter. The panels act as roof shades. Instead of the sun shining directly on the roof, the panels take the solar beating the shade the roof.
The researchers are designing a mathematical model that would help homeowners find what solar panel configurations would be best in specific areas. The findings made by the researchers could help boost the solar power industry, which at the moment is found at 0.2 percent of houses in the United States. Hopefully the study would boost the number of households with photovoltaic solar panels. Homeowners should consider the cooling effect of solar panels when making a purchase decision.
The research made by the team from UC will be published in the next issue of the journal Solar Energy.