Solar panels generate clean energy for homes and businesses, and they are also helping to keep the building cool during the warm season.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems take the brunt of the sun’s rays, preventing heat from penetrating inside the building through the roof. Essentially, solar panels function as rooftop insulators on residential and commercial roofs.

These compelling thermal advantages were officially confirmed by researchers at The Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. Published in the journal of Solar Energy, the peer-reviewed study was the first to measure the cooling benefits provided by solar photovoltaic panels.

Anthony Dominguez, a graduate student who worked on the project, explained that the panels essentially act as roof shades.

Thermal imaging technology was used to gather infrared data from the rooftop of a laboratory building in the university. Researchers found that during the day, ceiling temperatures were 5 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) cooler under solar panels than they were under exposed roof. The team, led by Professor of Environmental Engineering Jan Kleissl, determined that the amount saved on cooling the building over the solar panels’ lifetime was equivalent to getting a 5 per cent discount on the system’s price.

The same study also discovered that the panels helped to hold heat in at night, effectively reducing heating costs during winter. In this way, solar panels act as a kind of thermal insulator.

According to Kleissl, there are more efficient ways to passively cool buildings, such as reflective roof membranes. However, installing solar photovoltaic panels can help the building resident or occupant achieve a large reduction in energy consumption, depending on their roof’s thermal properties.

Kleissl’s team also found that solar panels with the highest efficiency reaped bigger cooling effects.

This finding adds to the list of reasons to choose solar panels from Australian-owned TCK Solar. Precision-engineered in Germany, TCK’s panels outperform competitor models by up to 28 per cent and are designed to last for 40 years. TCK’s SOLON solar panels were voted the best solar panels in the world by PV Magazine.

TCK Solar Technical Director Timo Karnath explains that their PV systems are robotically made, delivering the assurance of consistency and quality. He adds that TCK’s solar panels also perform really well without losing efficiency for many years to come, ensuring peace of mind.