Recently the researchers at the San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, under the professor Jan Kleissl direction, provided us another consideration to incorporate into the equation the energy efficiency benefit of solar panels shade.
With the help of a thermal infrared camera, they were able to calculate the value of solar panels roof shading. The study was done during three days in April and the calculation is possible when exact components are known.
The building roof has different sections: with tilted panels, with flush panels and without solar panels. The researchers found that the solar panels shading cause a reduction in air conditioning costs equal to a 5% increase in electricity provided by solar panels. During the night the solar panels tended to keep the ceilings warmer. Air circulation beneath the tilted panels lessened the heat transfer.
Other strictly conservation measures could give large returns. This would include highly reflective roofing materials or paint and increase the roof insulating. Dr. Chu, the Secretary of Energy outlined these issues in a memo, calling for more energy efficiency in government buildings.
Future designs might now incorporate a better understanding of these benefits and should include creating a model for predicting them. The future will give us solar panels optimized to give the most shade benefits and to increase the energy efficiency.