Solar panels are super cool, and I don’t mean fashionable (although they can be that too). I’m talking about their impact on rooftop temperatures! A new study by the University of California San Diego looked into the shading effects of rooftop solar panels. The energy-saving effects of shade trees or using reflective materials on rooftops is well documented. A US Forest Service study found that adding just three shade trees outside of a building can reduce cooling costs by 23%! However, the UCSD study on solar shading is the first of its kind. Researchers looked at thermal images of rooftops with solar arrays to determine whether the panels had any effect.
What did they find? Well, it turns out that the areas of the roof with solar panels were a full 5 degrees Fahrenheit cooler during the day! Panels that are installed at an angle have a greater overall cooling effect; wind is able to pass between through the space between the panels and roof enhancing the cooling effect.
What does this mean for building owners? The heat reduction means less energy is needed to run expensive air conditioning units. If you total the savings, it amounts to a 5% reduction in the cost of the system. Like a 5% off coupon, just for installing! But wait, there’s more! Call right now and we’ll double the offer! Well…not quite, but it turns out that larger arrays do have the potential for even greater reductions in cooling costs. And unlike reflective coatings or shade trees, the heat-canceling panels are also generating clean power that reduces monthly bills. For commercial buildings, retail stores, schools, or any large building with air conditioning the savings would be substantial. Extra panels, extra savings. Now that’s super cool.
For more information on commercial solar installations, visit http://www.ecosolargy.com/solutions/business-owners.