Bonus: Solar panels help keep buildings cool, reducing A/C needs – Treehugger

Cooling effect equivalent to 5% discount on solar panel price

In much the same way that trees provide shade on walls of buildings .. solar panels, when mounted on a roof, also provide valuable shade on top of generating clean electricity.

“Using thermal imaging, researchers determined that during the day, a building’s ceiling was 15 degrees Celsius cooler under solar panels than under an exposed roof.”

The amount saved on cooling the building amounted to getting a 5 percent discount on the solar panels’ price, over the panels’ lifetime. Or to put it another way, savings in cooling costs amounted to selling 5 percent more solar energy to the grid than the panels are actually producing— for the building researchers studied.

Copping  the brunt of the sun, the solar panels take a beating and much of this heat is removed by wind blowing between the panels and the roof. Tilted panels provide even greater benefits, allowing air to circulate in the open gap between the building and the solar panel. For the building researchers analysed, panels reduced the amount of heat reaching the roof by about 38 percent. Nothing prevents people from combining this often-overlooked side benefit with other reflective roof membranes, paints and materials is good to know.

Read the full article here.

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