As we all know, Australian summers can get quite intense. During extreme heat, one might feel too drained to even make a quick trip to the pool.
Similar to the human body, solar panels function best under specific temperature conditions. Excessive heat can pose a risk of overheating for solar panels.
In extreme heat, solar panels' efficiency drops, impacting their ability to capture sunlight. Let's quickly explore the ideal weather conditions for solar panels in Australia and the advantages of maintaining optimal temperatures for these energy systems.
Best Temperature for Solar Panels in Australia
The best temperature for solar panels is around 25 degrees Celsius. Most panels have a coefficient, typically between -0.20 and -0.50 per cent per degree Celsius. A lower coefficient means less impact from heat. For instance, with a -0.50 per cent coefficient, if it's 32 degrees Celsius (7 degrees more than the ideal), the panel's power decreases by 3.5 per cent.
How Hot Do Solar Panels Get in Australia
- Solar panels do get hot, influenced by factors like type, maintenance, and construction. The ideal temperature varies based on location, roof material, sunlight exposure, and more.
- While many solar panels handle harsh weather, the impact of overheating can affect their efficiency. The use of black solar panels, despite their aesthetic appeal, can contribute to increased heat absorption, making them less suitable for hot weather.
- Solar panels in Australia can experience high temperatures, exceeding 65 degrees Celsius during summer. The intense sunlight and ambient heat contribute to elevated temperatures, impacting panel efficiency.
- Panels made with dark silicon cells and metal are good conductors of heat, affecting performance in warmer climates. Manufacturers aim to prevent overheating, but it remains a consideration.
- To optimise solar energy system effectiveness in the Australian climate, strategies such as proper ventilation, tilt, and installation techniques are crucial to mitigate overheating.
How Does Temperature Impact Solar Panel Efficiency?
- Solar panels harness the sun's immense power through photovoltaic (PV) technology, converting sunlight into usable electricity as a rich renewable energy source.
- Contrary to common belief, stronger sunlight doesn't always equate to increased electricity production; excessive heat can decrease the performance and energy output of solar panels.
- As a solar panel's temperature rises, its energy output declines, impacting overall power generation because the semiconductor relies on photons to excite electrons.
- Warm solar panels have the most electrons in the semiconductor already excited, resulting in a decrease in the panel's ability to generate voltage.
- The commonly used silicon in solar panels exacerbates heat build-up on hot days, and the solar panel’s temperature coefficient serves as a measure to quantify performance loss due to heat.
Optimising Solar Panel Temperature
The temperature coefficient indicates performance decline for each degree above the optimal 25 degrees Celsius for solar panels. In Australia, solar panels are tested at 25 degrees Celsius, with performance impact varying among manufacturers.
Manufacturers specify the temperature coefficient for their panels, with some designed for enhanced efficiency in Australian conditions, operating effectively at higher temperatures.
How to Keep Solar Panels Cool in the Heat
- To prevent solar panels from getting too hot at the optimal temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, certified installers employ techniques for natural cooling in harsh conditions.
- Leaving approximately six inches of space between rooftops and solar panels facilitates air circulation, aiding in panel cooling.
- Consider the building's shape, size, shade, and wind exposure when creating a gap to avoid potential damage from strong winds or debris.
- Ventilation fans can be used for airflow without risking damage, providing an alternative to leaving a larger gap.
- Light-colored roofing or solar panels reflect more sunlight in warmth. Some large solar power farms use water cooling, and ongoing research explores panels that extract water from the air for cooling, similar to human sweating.
Efficiency of Solar Panels in Colder Climates
Contrary to popular belief, solar panels work well in Australia if exposed to ample sunlight and favorable temperatures. The main concern is shade, which can cancel out solar performance even on a day with ideal conditions. During installation, ensuring no shade covers the panels is crucial for optimal solar output.
[Disclaimer: The blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. For accurate and up-to-date information on renewable energy, refer to reputable sources and consult with experts in the field.]
Please don’t hesitate to contact Betta Value Renewable Energy if you have any questions about this topic.