21 Oct How Does Heat Affect Solar Panel Efficiency?
One common misconception about solar panels is that because solar panels convert sunlight to electricity, stronger sunlight must mean more solar energy from the panels. The reality, however, is that there is infrared radiation in sunlight that creates heat on the surface of the panels. If the heat warms up your solar panels to an excessive amount, the voltage and efficiency of the solar panels decreases. At Energy Saving Pros, we want you to know about the effect of temperature on solar panel efficiency, because we care about your options to maximize the efficiency of your panels.
Why Does Heat Negatively Affect Solar Panels?
When solar panels are exposed to higher temperatures, they will still receive the solar energy, but they will not be able to output that energy with the same efficiency. The panels are tested at 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit), and an increase in temperature beyond that will affect energy output. The current will increase, but the voltage will decrease. Because voltage declines faster than the current can increase, the efficiency of the solar panels is compromised.
What Can I Do to Optimize the Efficiency of My Solar Panels?
Educate yourself on what to expect from your solar panels by checking the information sheet that came with them. In this information, you will find the NOCT Temperature Coefficient Pmax. This figure will tell you how much you can expect your solar panels to decrease in energy output with each degree of increase (Celsius). Once you know what to expect, you can implement practical ways of optimizing their performance.
One tip is to choose light-colored solar panels. The darker the color of the solar panels, the more heat they will absorb. Another factor to consider is the location of solar panel installation. Install the panels where there is a good amount of natural ventilation, taking advantage of the naturally cooling effects of wind. Have them installed with several inches of space between them and the rooftop. This allows airflow above and between the rooftop and panels, which will keep the panels cooler. An additional ventilation system or fan in your solar PV system—or an evaporative cooling system—can also help encourage this cooling air flow around the panels. As the temperature of your solar panels falls, their efficiency will increase again to maximum energy output performance.
How Can We Assist You?
Our team at Energy Saving Pros wants to help you understand the effect of temperature on solar panel efficiency so you can get the most out of your solar panels. Give us a call today to discuss efficiency optimization of your current solar panels, or let us help you with an efficiency plan for your future solar panel purchase. Call 866-497-6527 today or contact us online to find the best option for your home and receive a free estimate.