Google Earth image of the Powell Structural Systems Laboratory with a tilted solar panel array on the north side and a flush solar panel array on the center of the roof, alongside a thermal infrared image of the ceiling of the building showing temperatures in degrees Kelvin (Image: USCD Jacobs School of Engineering)
Jan Kleissl, a professor of environmental engineering at the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering (Image: USCD Jacobs School of Engineering)
Tilted solar panels (front), create a stronger cooling effect than panels flush with the roof (Image: USCD Jacobs School of Engineering)
According to a team of researchers at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, the solar panels sprouting on increasing numbers of residential and commercial rooftops around the world aren’t just generating green electricity, they’re also helping keep the buildings cool. The news that letting photovoltaic panels take the solar beating will reduce the amount of heat reaching the roof shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but the fact no one has thought to quantify just what the effects of rooftop solar panels on a building’s temperature are is a little baffling.
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