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

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.

Sources:

General Solar Panel FAQ

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