- Solar panels work optimally at around 25oC (77f)
- This summer brought record-breaking heat, with temperatures reaching as high as 40oC (104f) in the UK.
- Solar panels become less efficient as temperatures rise.
“He commands the sun, and it does not rise; He seals off the stars; He alone spreads out the heavens, And treads on the waves of the sea” Job 9:7-8
With heatwaves being reported worldwide, leading to wildfires and other environmental concerns, at least one energy sector is getting attention for its major producing potential – solar power. But with solar panels collecting energy from the sun’s radiation, the world’s overheating may (unexpectedly) be of little benefit to solar power production. However, this is not stopping rising consumer interest as people are driven to invest in solar technology as they see both hotter summers and rising consumer prices. With some of the hottest summers on record for several decades in many parts of the world, it must be doing wonders for solar power, right?
As the world heats up, people may think that more sun will bring more solar energy, even if it has been negative for many other reasons. But soaring temperatures may be hindering solar power production as solar panels work optimally at around 25oC and start becoming less efficient when the heat goes above this. And even if the heat does not hamper solar production, it is also doing little to help it.
With record temperatures being seen across much of Europe this summer, as the U.K. reached 40oC in July, solar farms have been seeing positive output levels, with Solar Energy U.K. reporting on 20th July that the country’s solar power output had “met up to a quarter of the U.K.’s power demand”. But this is mostly down to the country seeing more days of sunlight rather than higher temperatures.
Of course, when there’s sun there’s solar power. But because of the way solar panels work, they become slightly less efficient.
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