Solar Panel Air Conditioning Helps Beat Heat Wave
Can’t stand the heat? Then get yourself a solar roof! According to a new study, solar roofs exhibit a unique air conditioning effect that may help solar-savvy homeowners stay cool amidst the record heat wave spreading across the U.S.
The current issue of the journal Solar Energy features a study that finds roofs adorned with solar panels tend to result in a ceiling temperature of five degrees F cooler than roofs without. The solar panels apparently reduced the amount of heat reaching the roof by 38 percent.
"It's mostly that shadow effect, like when you park your car under a tree. The sun hits the solar panels, not your roof," says study co-author Jan Kleissl, an assistant professor of environmental engineering at the University of California - San Diego
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Kleissl, along with researchers Anthony Dominguez and Jeffrey C. Luvall used thermal infrared imagery to measure the temperature of the Powell Structural Systems Laboratory, which is partially covered with solar panels. The building is a commercial warehouse style building with little insulation.
The amount of energy saved as a result of the solar panel air conditioning effect is entirely dependent on the characteristics of the building itself. In large commercial buildings such as the one tested, the savings may be very large. The research team estimates that the average savings as a result of the cooling effect over the life of a solar panel rooftop system could be as much as five percent.
In winter months, the solar panels actually can act as an insulator, further extending the benefits in reducing the cost of heating a building. "It's like having a blanket," Kleissl says. "In winter, the solar panels won't allow all the heat to be lost to the atmosphere."
Kleissl’s research team is now working on a calculator to help businesses and homeowners calculate the cooling effect of installing solar panels on their roofs.
Amazon's renewable energy projects surpass 200 milestone
Amazon claims it is now Europe's largest corporate buyer of renewable energy as its projects surpassed 200 globally.
Broken down, it has 136 solar rooftops on facilities and stores and 71 utility-scale wind and solar projects, nine of which were announced today covering the US, Canada, Spain, Sweden and UK. They include:
First solar project paired with energy storage Based in California’s Imperial Valley, Amazon’s first solar project paired with energy storage allows the company to align solar generation with the greatest demand. The project generates 100MW of solar energy, and includes 70MW storage.
It now has more than 2.5 GW of renewable energy capacity, enough to power more than two million European homes a year, and aims to power all its activities with renewables by 2025 and net zero by 2040.
Amazon and Global Optimism co-founded The Climate Pledge in 2019, a commit ment to reach the Paris Agreement 10 years early and be net-zero carbon by 2040. The pledge now has 53 signatories, including IBM, Unilever, Verizon, Siemens, Microsoft, and Best Buy.
A map of all of Amazon’s renewable energy projects around the world can be found here.