Solar panels keep buildings cool, keep AC costs downPublished On: Tue, Jul 19th, 2011 | Energy Science | By BioNews
Solar panels on your rooftop aren’t just providing clean, inexpensive power, they are doing more – cooling your house and keeping expenses down on air conditioning.
Jan Kleissl, professor of environmental engineering a the University of California and his team have come up with the first ever measurements of the cooling benefits provided by solar photovoltaic panels.
As solar panels sprout on an increasing number of residential and commercial roofs, it becomes more important to consider their impact on buildings’ total energy costs, Kleissl said in the journal Solar Energy.
His team determined that the amount saved on cooling the building amounted to getting a five percent discount on the solar panels’ price, over the panels’ lifetime, according to a California statement.
Data for the study was gathered over three days on the roof of the Powell Structural Systems Lab at the Jacobs School of Engineering with a thermal infrared camera.
The building is equipped with tilted solar panels and solar panels that are flush with the roof. Some portions of the roof are not covered by panels. The panels essentially act as roof shades, said Anthony Dominguez, the graduate student involved in the project.
Rather than the sun beating down onto the roof, which causes heat to be pushed through the roof and inside the ceiling of the building, photovoltaic panels take the solar beating.