Do Hot Solar Panels Cause Problems? (Answered!)

Solar panels provide electricity to homes and businesses with a renewable energy source, but some property owners worry about hot solar panels.

Hot solar panels are not a major source of concern, especially when the panels are installed and maintained properly. Receiving expert guidance will help you ensure your home has the power it needs, without the worry of excess heat.

In this article, I will offer detailed information on how much heat is generated by solar panels. I will provide the following information and much more.

  • Do solar panels produce too much heat?
  • Can excess solar panel heat cause problems?
  • How can you reduce the heat of your solar panels?

You will be surprised at how hot a single solar panel becomes, but I have all the details you need to prevent issues.

Sun Beating Down On Solar Panels
Sun Beating Down On Solar Panels

What happens to The Heat On Solar Panels?

Solar panels absorb sunlight and convert it to energy but not all the absorbed sunlight will be converted to electricity. Some of the absorbed sunlight is converted to heat.

Solar panels perform at their peak while temperatures range between 59°F and 95°F.

How Hot Do Solar Panels Get?

Solar panel temperatures vary, depending on the temperature outdoors. Solar panels are tested at 77°F. In the heat of summer, panels can get as hot as 149°F,

This is comparable to the inside of a car after it sits in the sun for hours.

Solar panels are made of silicon photovoltaic cells that are protected by a pane of glass and secured with a metal frame. To understand how hot these panels can become, consider a car parked in direct sunlight all day.

Although the glass and metal of the car will be extremely hot to the touch, it is unlikely a person would experience a serious burn from touching a hot window, and the same can be said for a solar panel.

Can Solar Panels Get Too Hot?

Many people mistakenly believe a hot climate is ideal for solar panels, but this is not the case. Solar panels can overheat.

High ambient temperatures are not ideal for the normal function of solar panels. High temperatures reduce the voltage of solar panels, which reduces the power output and leads to thermal loss.

In hot climates, great care must be taken to ensure the solar panels have ample air circulation to prevent overheating, which can lead to a reduction in performance.

How Hot Is Too Hot for Solar Panels?

Because solar panels are manufactured to work most efficiently between 59 and 95°F, any temperatures above the upper limits are going to cause declines in performance.

A hot solar panel will lose great amounts of energy and will not work as efficiently. It is important to note that it would be virtually impossible for major damage to occur to a solar panel based on high temperatures alone.

The main issue that will occur with high heat is a loss of efficiency. Solar panels perform at their peak in colder conditions with vast amounts of sunlight.

How Much Heat Do Solar Panels Give Off?

Solar panels absorb sunlight. Since not all the sunlight is converted to electricity, the panels do become hot.

It is a common misconception that solar panels generate heat. Although they do become hot, they do not create heat but rather absorb it in the panels.

The solar panels on a roof prevent heat from being absorbed by the roofing materials, which will equate to cooler roof temperatures.

While a small amount of heat is released by the panels, it does not add to the ambient temperature of the property.

Are Solar Panels Hot to Be Under?

Homeowners often worry about solar panels causing their homes to be hotter, but this is not the case. Solar panels actually help to keep homes cooler.

In a journal issue of Solar Energy, Jan Kleissl, professor of environmental engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, conducted a study on the cooling benefits of photovoltaic solar panels. The results were astonishing!

Not only did Kleissl and his team prove solar panels keep buildings cooler, but they also discovered the panels hold heat at night, keeping homes warmer during the winter.

Using thermal energy, Kleissl and his team found the ceilings of buildings with solar panels were 5°F cooler than ceilings under an exposed roof.

One of the students leads on the project, Anthony Dominguez, surmised solar panels act as a roofing shade. Much of the heat absorbed by hot solar panels is dissipated as the wind blows.

Kleissl and his team said they hope to acquire additional funding that would allow them to produce a calculator to help homeowners calculate the cooling effect they would experience on their own roof and in their particular climate.

What Happens If Solar Panels Overheat?

Unlike thermal solar panels, a photovoltaic solar panel does not suffer the same risks of overheating damage because there is no water circulation in the panel.

This should give peace of mind to those living in hot climates because there is no danger to overheated panels.

Although efficiency is reduced when solar panels reach extreme temperatures, major damages from heat alone are not a concern. Extreme heat becomes a disadvantage to solar panels rather than a danger.

How Do You Cool Down Solar Panels?

Because solar panels do not work as efficiently when overheated, scientists have consistently pursued research that would help discover methods of cooling them and preventing energy loss.

Liangbing Hu, a materials scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park, states there is now a way to make overheated solar panels “sweat”.

In the past, water has been used to reduce the temperature of solar panels successfully, but this method has its drawbacks. The panels must have access to an abundant supply of water, which can be lacking in arid conditions.

Studies Offer Positive Results for Cooling Solar Panels

Peng Wang, an environmental engineer at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, discovered gel could help keep solar panels cooler.

This gel is a mixture of carbon nanotubes suspended in polymers.

The gel absorbs water vapor during the night while temperatures are cooler. The researchers discovered the amount of gel needed varied according to the climate.

The results of the gel application reduced the panel heat by as much as 50°F and improved the electricity output of the solar panels by as much as 15%, with one outdoor test producing an improvement of 19%.

Those who live in hot climates can take advantage of the latest technology that offers panel cooling systems. In most climates, even top temperatures will not cause damage but could reduce efficiency.


General Solar Panel FAQ

What Problems Do Solar Panels Solve?

In environmental terms, solar panels can potentially solve a handful of problems, including;
1. Air pollution
2. Water pollution
3. Greenhouse gases
4. Reduction in fossil fuel use

For individuals, solar energy allows you to become completely self-sufficient when it comes to your electricity needs and can save you a lot of money in the long run.

What Are 3 Important Uses Of Solar Panels?

The three most important uses of solar panels are;
1. Solar electricity. This can be used to power almost any appliance in your home, including TVs, computers, and fridges.
2. Lighting. In addition to the use of low-power, LED lightbulbs, solar panels can provide an efficient, low-cost, and environmentally friendly way to provide lighting to homes. 
3. Portable solar. In our modern, always-connected lives, our phones, tablets, and computers are almost always with us, and all run on batteries. Portable PV chargers can help keep our batteries topped up no matter where we are, as long as there is some sun to charge them.

Do solar panels give you free electricity?

Once the cost of the array is paid in full, the energy it produces is free. There are ongoing maintenance costs, too, such as annual panel cleaning, etc. 

How much will my electric bill be with solar panels?

Suppose your solar array includes a solar battery backup system, and it is large enough to fully cover your energy usage per day. In that case, your monthly electric bill will be next to zero dollars, even with a grid-tied system. 

If your solar array does not include a solar battery backup system, then at night, your house or business will use grid electricity. That cost will vary but expect to pay from 1/3-2/3 of your average electric bill, and that cost will fluctuate seasonally. 

Do you save money with solar panels?

The simple answer is, Yes, you save money with solar panels. There is an initial upfront cost, but since solar panels are warrantied for 25 years, you will save money over time. You will also begin to see monthly savings in energy bills, but there are other ways that solar panels pay you back. Those include:
1. Adding value to your home or commercial building 
2. Monthly decreases in energy costs
3. The ability to add more energy appliances without increased monthly costs
4. The potential for tax credits for going solar

Can solar panels power a house 24-7?

Most definitely! Solar panels can certainly power a house 24-7, with the addition of a high-quality inverter and a suitable battery bank, of course. To power, a house under normal usage will require a massive solar array, though, and there will be a very expensive initial financial outlay.

Do I need to tell my energy supplier I have solar panels?

This depends on where you live, but in most cases, it’s not necessary to inform your energy supplier that you have solar panels. That said, you may be producing excess power with your solar system, in which case you may be able to sell that excess power back to energy companies.

In this case, you’ll naturally need to be in contact with them. 

What Are Solar Cells Known as and Why?

Solar cells are also called photovoltaic (PV) cells. They are called so because the term ‘photovoltaic’ literally means light i.e. photo and electricity i.e. voltaic.

These cells generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect. This effect basically causes the generation of free electrons from the semiconducting silicon material of the solar panel when sunlight hits its surface.

What Type of Solar Panels Are Most Efficient and Why?

There are currently three types of solar panels available in the market that are:
1. Monocrystalline
2. Polycrystalline
3. Thin-filmed

Among these, monocrystalline solar panels are known to be the most efficient among all others.

Does heat enter your home through the roof?

Absolutely. Heat enters your home through your roof, and on a hot day your attic can get up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Through conduction, heat from the sun warms your roof which then warms your attic and the rest of your home.

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