Rooftop Solar Cools and Reduces Thermal Stress

With spring in full swing, the clouds have just started to give way to glorious sunshine. Soon things will be heating up. When considering the overall efficiency of your home or commercial building, a roof-mount solar installation may be able to help you beyond the generation of clean energy and savings in electrical utility bills.

That’s because one often overlooked benefit of a solar install on your roof is the way the panels act as a shield from the heat of the summer sun, resulting in cooler temperatures inside. In fact, researchers from the University of California San Diego concluded that the daytime temperature of a ceiling inside a building was “5 degrees Fahrenheit cooler under solar panels than under an exposed roof.”

In fact, the study found that the amount saved in cooling costs was worth roughly a 5 percent discount on the price of the solar panels. Obviously the modules themselves are a barrier to the sun’s heat — reducing the amount of heat reaching the roof by 38 percent in some cases — but there are other factors in play as well.

“Much of the heat is removed by wind blowing between the panels and the roof,” the study reported, adding that greater cooling effects are achieved with a tilted solar panel install and with high-efficiency solar modules.

At night, the study said, solar panels allowed buildings to keep the heat accumulated inside due to insulating properties of the panels. The study concluded that the reduced “variability” in rooftop temperatures “reduces thermal stresses on the roof and leads to energy savings and/or human comfort benefits.”

So if you’ve been pondering a switch to solar, here’s yet another reason why solar could be a great investment for your home or business. If you would like a free energy assessment, get in touch with us at Solora Solar today.

For more information on the UC San Diego study, we recommend a couple of great summaries at TreeHugger and EarthSky. You can read the full study on ScienceDirect.

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