Does Temperature Affect Solar PV Panels?

picture of a solar panel in snowTemperature can affect solar PV panels. This is why solar panels are designed with temperature in mind and measures can be put in place to prevent them from overheating. Whilst this is great news, a system facing high temperatures can see reduced output - as a solar panel increases in temperature it decreases in efficiency.

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What is my solar panels' temperature coefficient?

Generally a manufacturer's data sheet will provide a temperature coefficient (Pmax). This number will indicate the maximum power temperature coefficient - how much power a panel would lose if the temperature rises by 1 degree Celsius above 25 degrees. From this you can figure out roughly how much output will be lost for each degree over 25 your solar panels reach.

Are there self-cooling solar panels?

Stanford University engineers have developed technology that could keep solar panels cooler by radiating heat out whilst still allowing sunlight in. A thin silica material which has a pattern of micro pyramids and cones is laid over the solar cell. This material is then able to draw heat away in the form of infrared radiation that is dispersed into the atmosphere. This technology is still in the testing stage, but will hopefully be rolled out on solar panel installations in the future.

Can installers do anything to help prevent overheating?

During installation the panels can be elevated several centimetres from the roof, allowing cool air to circulate around the array. Pole and ground mounted solar panels can also present a solution to overheating as they allow plenty of room for cool air circulation.

Should I be worried about my solar panels overheating?

Here in the UK we rarely see temperatures high enough to cause major problems with solar panels, however extreme heat could cause a reduction in output. Brightstar Solar suggests that systems in much hotter locations could use solar PV panels designed to operate in higher temperatures, but for cooler countries this is not necessary.

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