The Climate Prediction Center outlook for Monsoon 2021 is for temperatures likely to be hotter than average. Get prepared for a lot of 110 plus degree days. Solar panels and the capacity to generate clean energy can be affected by sizzling Arizona heat. What does this excessive heat do for solar panel efficiency?
Solar Panel Power Basics
Most solar panels are made of dark-colored silicon photovoltaic cells protected by a sheet of glass within a metal frame. These materials are not unlike those used in car production, such as windows and door frames. Glass, metal, and silicon are also excellent conductors of heat.
The best way to understand the reasons why high temperatures impact solar panel output is to look at how they work. The photons sent from the sun knock electrons out of the atoms that make up a typical solar panel cell. When electrons are forced out, they zip around a circuit within the solar panel. It’s this reaction that produces an electric current. During cooler days, the lower resting state of electrons become more energized by the photons. The energy production difference produces a high current.
On a hot day, the higher temperature within the solar panels causes the electrons to be in an excited state. Meaning these electrons don’t pick up as much energy when they are dislodged by the photons. In other words, with increased heat there is decreased power output according to the laws of thermodynamics. A 2017 study in Qatar showed an air temperature of 122 degrees with a build-up of dust on the panels reduced solar panel output up to 30%. The panel temperatures reached 167 degrees in some brands of solar panels!
Select the Right Solar Panel Installer
On hot days, roofing materials, including asphalt shingles and clay tiles, will absorb the heat, making rooftop temperatures even higher than actual temperatures. White or lighter-colored roofing helps to decrease panel temperature as these colors reflect more sunlight. A professional installation company will mount your panels two to six inches above tiles or shingles. This increases airflow underneath panels and your roof, helping to keep the solar panels from getting too hot. Depending on your solar installation, home solar panels may be housed in a thermally conductive layer to help vent excessive heat. The exact temperature of your solar panels can vary depending on the level of direct sunlight, dust, roof materials, and air temperature. Ground mounted solar panels have the most airflow, and they may be another option to consider.
With solar more affordable than ever, now is the time to benefit from renewable power. Contact the experts at Cool Blew Solar today at 623-234-2836.