You already know that solar can reduce your home's impact on the environment by providing clean, renewable, sustainable energy for your home or business. But what about during the blistering heat of summer? When your energy bills seem to rise along with the temperatures on the seven day forecast, lowering your summer cooling costs can feel hopeless, even for homeowners considering solar installation.
But the truth is, solar panels can have a big impact on your summer energy bills, especially when you partner with a trusted local solar company. Designing and installing the right system of solar panels for your home requires extensive knowledge about your local year round climate, and how to best harness the sunlight that hits your roof or property. In CAM Solar’s nearly 30 years serving the solar installation needs of homeowners throughout Texas and Colorado, our team has honed in on what it takes to install a solar electric system poised to provide the energy savings you need all year round, but especially in the summer.
Summertime Solar Energy
During the summertime, the earth’s axis tilt puts our hemisphere in the most direct path of the sun’s rays. This is what makes June, July and August the hottest months of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, but the coldest months of the Southern Hemisphere. But that same direct sunlight that heats up our summer days is the same sunlight that feeds solar photovoltaic (PV) panels!
The more peak sunlight your solar PV panels see in a day, the more energy they will produce. And the more solar energy you are able to use in your home, the lower your energy bills! But there is one important thing to take into account, especially for particularly hot areas like San Antonio, and Austin, TX: The solar panel temperature coefficient.
The Solar Panel Temperature Coefficient
Solar panels are designed to operate at peak efficiency when the surface temperature is between 19ºC and 35ºC, or 67ºF and 95ºF. But for every degree above that range, solar panels will lose a percentage of their electrical output. Each solar panel is rated with a temperature coefficient, which represents the percentage of output lost with each degree the surface of that solar panel rises. The low end of solar temperature coefficient ratings is just under -0.3%, and the high end is around-0 .5%.
What does this mean in real time numbers? On a particularly hot summer day in San Antonio, TX, or even Denver, CO, the surface of your solar panels may reach up over 60ºC (or 140º F). If your solar panels have a temperature coefficient of -0.29%, that means you would lose 7.25% of your solar power output (60ºC is 25º above 35ºC — 25 x 0.20 = 7.25% loss in efficiency). On the higher end, if your temperature coefficient is -0.5%, you would lose out on 12.5% of your solar output.
Even when you account for this loss in efficiency, a well designed and installed solar PV system can still have a significant impact on your summer cooling costs!
Do Solar Panels Reflect Heat?
One little known benefit to solar panel installation is the minimal — but beneficial — ability of solar panels to keep your roof cooler. Solar panels have been proven to reduce the temperature of your roof, which in turn reduces the amount of heat that infiltrates your home through your roofing materials and attic. The cooler your home is during a summer heatwave, the less you need to rely on your air conditioning equipment. And the less energy your home requires to stay cool, the lower your monthly energy costs!
Solar Panels Add Up to Big Savings
From Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo CO down to San Antonio and Austin, TX, homeowners are turning to CAM Solar to help reduce summer cooling costs by offsetting their energy consumption with solar. Every little bit counts when it comes to solar installation, and that is why the CAM Solar design and installation experts emphasize precision with each and every job.
Not only will CAM Solar get you the custom solar PV system your home requires, but we will also help you understand and qualify for any available incentives and rebates in both Texas and Colorado, like net metering. Plus, if you schedule your solar installation before the end of 2019, you can take advantage of the full 30% savings currently offered by the Federal Investment Tax Credit, also known as the Federal solar tax credit!