In light of the recent heat wave — er, heat dome — that has been blanketing the country, we thought it’d be fitting toshare one of the interesting side benefits of solar panels: they canhelp keep your roof cool. Here’s how it works, in general terms:
Solar panels are typically installed on a rack that stands offagainst the roof. The resulting gap between the panels and theunderlying shingles allows air to circulate around the array. This setup is good for the solar panels, which perform best in coolertemperatures. It’s also good for the roof, the ceiling and the residents inside.
It turns out that the gap and the panels create a thermal barrier that helps keep the inside of the building cool. Recently revisited by the Independent, a 2010 report confirms that buildings with rooftop solar panels are typically cooler than those without:
The study … used thermal imaging to monitor thetemperature of buildings. The researchers found that during daylighthours the ceiling of a building with solar panels was five degreesFahrenheit (2.8 degrees Celsius) cooler than the ceiling of anequivalent building without solar panels.
Five degrees may not sound like a lot. But, as many across the country are learning, all those dog days of summer add up.
The team found that the cooling effect of the solarpanels impacted the building’s total energy costs and amounted to a 38percent reduction in “annual cooling load” – the rate at which heat isremoved from a conditioned space and the amount required to maintain aconstant temperature.
Beyond this somewhat surprising cooling effect, solar panels ofcourse go a long way in reducing high monthly electricity bills thataccompany the AC-heavy months…
Photo credit: Wikipedia.
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