It becomes quite obvious when looking at thermal imaging of solar panel-covered roofs. And the research was done a few years ago at the University of California – San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering:
Solar panels act as insulators and will save you on cooling costs.
The research team measured a 38% reduction in annual cooling costs at their test site. They also found that a tilted panel array resulted in a cooler roof than a flush array, airflow being another insulator.
Over the solar panels’ lifetime, the amount saved on cooling the building added up to a five percent discount on the panels’ price. And the more efficient the panels, the greater the cooling effect as more solar energy is captured.
Check out the images below for some visual proof. Note that 303-309 Kelvin equals 29.85-35.85 degrees Celsius.
At GEM Energy we use thermal imaging when working out array designs. We want to make sure that our customers get both maximum outputs as well as maximum life spans out of their investment. The cooler a solar panel is, the more power it produces. That is why we work with different panel tilts and add-ons such as solar extraction fans to reduce roof temperatures at poorly insulated sites such as older-style work sheds – see the pictures below from a job we completed in 2016.
It is clearly visible where the panels are sitting on the roof, and there is a massive 20 degree Celsius difference in temperature.
So, on top of producing free energy for at least the next quarter of the century, your solar panels potentially offer the following benefits:
- Reduced cooling costs.
- More energy yield from your solar panels.
- Increased lifespan of your solar panels.
- Less thermal stress on the roof through less severe temperature changes.
- Better working conditions inside the shed or building.
- Possibly lower heating costs.