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Thread: Effect of solar panel on the surrounding temperature?

  1. #1 Effect of solar panel on the surrounding temperature? 
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    Will the presence of solar panels increase or decrease the surrounding temperature? Take for example a town whose every house has a solar panel. Will the own have a higher or lower temperature?

    I personally think that the surrounding temperature will increase as the solar panels will reflect lots of light which are eventually absorbed by the surroundings. (trees or buildings)


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    If you're basing this on light reflection theory, then you're wrong.

    Solar panels are black, and therefore absorb "all" wavelengths of visible light. This absorption would mean that less light would be reflected, and the surrounding area would be "cooler." However, I don't think that's the case either.

    I think that it is much more likely that solar panels will do little to nothing to affect the heat of the surrounding area.


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    thanks for your reply. turns out that it was a pointless question after all.
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    No such thing as a pointless question. Now we both know and any others who looked
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    I think the solar panel be hotter then the air above and act as a heating element but below the panel it would be cooler.

    There would be no more or less heat as the solar panel is a passive device but there would be greater local disparity around the panels. Weather this would have a knock on effect to the greater environment I cannot say but doubt it would.

    If you cool photovoltaic solar panels they collect greater energy.
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    I don't think the question is entirely pointless... I would think that if one did a full energy balance analysis, because there is the same amount of energy input involved, there should be no net change in temperature over a largish area. The time constants might change though.

    With passive panels, heat is being transferred from the roof to the inside of the house where the insulation would slow it's re-dispersal. With electric panels it might get interesting due to batteries and reverse feeding of the power grid. Both of these could take energy out of the system for a significant amount of time and thus reduce the absolute temperature.

    But the efficiency of any solar collectors available on your standard rooftop is probably very low, so the actual amount of energy removed or redirected would be minimal.
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    I agree - it is all part of why solar energy is such a viable option as there is neither more heat nor emissions by harnessing it.

    interesting though is how it could affect our environment. it could 'cool' our earth as energy is reflected away from the surface and indeed as commented above fed to the grid.

    they are experiencing similar problems with geothermal energy as when they drill an artificial one (and start taking the heat out of the earth's core) they experience seismic events which they think are related. It is a shame as it is holding the technology back as far as I am aware.
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    If no current is drawn from the solar panels, then the black surfaces they are said to have would tend to radiate almost as much heat away as it would have reflected. However, assuming existence of the solar panels to imply subjecting of the locality to importation of less power from a utility, then the neighborhood should be a little cooler.

    PS: The alleged blackness of the solar panel surfaces is not totally the blackness to be presumed as a warming "color". They would run cool in full sunshine if the solar cells were sufficiently efficient.

    PPS: As a matter of fact, if it so happened that those of the community pumped up well water from below ground using solar-generated energy, then the area would be all the cooler, not that more cool water would be pumped than otherwise, but due to the fact that some of the solar energy would not be destined to return as heat while within the community.
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    If the solar panels were not there, the sunlight would reach whatever surface was beneath the area where the panel would have been. It seems to me that the difference in radiated heat would be the difference (absorption/reflection) between the two surfaces. I suspect the difference would not be too large.

    But even if the difference was rather large, I think the surface area of solar panels is still a very small percentage of entire surface area of the overall neighborhood. So I still suspect any mean difference would be negligible.

    As long as the sun is out... 8)
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  11. #10 Re: Effect of solar panel on the surrounding temperature? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by tikai
    Will the presence of solar panels increase or decrease the surrounding temperature? Take for example a town whose every house has a solar panel. Will the own have a higher or lower temperature?

    I personally think that the surrounding temperature will increase as the solar panels will reflect lots of light which are eventually absorbed by the surroundings. (trees or buildings)
    no I think not ...
    in all cases we are far from that found in this situation
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    I agree that it would actually increase the temp of the town. The rays will actually heat the solar panels which will increase the surface area that is hot and thus increasing the temp of the town. If the solar panels are not there then the rays could be heating the earth which would not cause as much surface heat as a big black solar panel.
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    I think by using solar panel you change the light Energy into Electrical energy which otherwise would have been changed into heat energy.

    So you might think it will make surrounding cooler!

    But I don't think that's the case because the electrical energy would also ultimately be changed into heat by machines!

    But if you take the electricity to another city and use it there then the city with solar panel will be cooler and the city with machines will be hotter in theory , But I think the difference made by solar panel will be almost negligible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vilyanurchandra

    But I don't think that's the case because the electrical energy would also ultimately be changed into heat by machines!

    .
    But if the electrical energy were used to lift water up out of a deep well, then the energy invested into potential energy of the lifted water would escape the fate of becoming heat energy while the water remains above to the altitude at it was encountered in the deep well. Were such water then sprinkled about the neighborhood during dry spells, additional cooling would be afforded by its evaporation.
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    You can dismiss most of the replies above as ill thought out conjecture. You need to consider the conservation of energy on this one. Split it into two parts, the wideband reflection coefficient of the material vs that of the surface it replaces and energy conversion of the cells compared to the material they replace.

    Plants convert solar energy to chemical energy, tarmac converts solar energy directly into heat. Solar panels convert a small amount of solar energy into electricity.

    Thus replacing tarmac with solar cells should result in a cooler environment, replacing plants with solar cells may or may not result in a cooler environment (depending upon the exact nature of the plants and cells).

    So to summarize you'd have to look at it case by case
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    Quote Originally Posted by Home200
    You can dismiss most of the replies above as ill thought out conjecture.
    Golly: In one swell foop a lofty authority has passed judgement upon the most of us. Then instead of heading back up into his lofty ivory tower, he tarried a bit more to council us on how we can absolve ourselves.

    Does he have a good broom closet up there?
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    Have any of you Nimrods who claim that Solar Panels don't radiate heat ever seen one (or touched it) on a roof? The surface of a solar panel can reach 170 degrees. In California they built a solar field with thousands of mirrors reflecting the sun to a solar collector. The reflected beams of light are up to 1,000 degrees and have been killing birds instantly that fly in its path. Answer is YES Solar Panels are definetly contributing to global warming. One person mentioned they are black so they just absorb the heat, did he forget about asphalt? Panels absorb and radiate heat, why some have heat sensors built in.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inhermosa View Post
    The surface of a solar panel can reach 170 degrees.
    Something to do with it being black and in direct sunlight, maybe?

    In California they built a solar field with thousands of mirrors reflecting the sun to a solar collector.
    Not a solar panel then but something we call a "mirror".

    The reflected beams of light are up to 1,000 degrees
    Beams of light don't have a temperature.

    and have been killing birds instantly that fly in its path.
    Do you have a reference for that? Sounds unlikely (but not impossible, I guess).

    Answer is YES Solar Panels are definetly contributing to global warming.
    Do you have any evidence to support that?

    One person mentioned they are black so they just absorb the heat, did he forget about asphalt?
    So asphalt contributes to global warming as well does it?

    Panels absorb and radiate heat, why some have heat sensors built in.
    Of course they absorb and radiate heat. Everything does to some extent. Darker coloured materials more than lighter ones.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inhermosa View Post
    Have any of you Nimrods who claim that Solar Panels don't radiate heat ever seen one (or touched it) on a roof? The surface of a solar panel can reach 170 degrees. In California they built a solar field with thousands of mirrors reflecting the sun to a solar collector. The reflected beams of light are up to 1,000 degrees and have been killing birds instantly that fly in its path. Answer is YES Solar Panels are definetly contributing to global warming. One person mentioned they are black so they just absorb the heat, did he forget about asphalt? Panels absorb and radiate heat, why some have heat sensors built in.
    I like to talk crazy sometimes too.
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  20. #19 Solar Panel 
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    My "off the cuff" answer is that the solar panels will decrease the local temperature for this reason:

    If the solar panel was not present the suns energy would fall on the earth causing heating. If that energy is blocked by a solar panel that energy will not fall on the earth; some of it will still be converted into heating of the panel but some of it will be converted into electrical energy which could be converted into other forms of energy beside heat eg. chemical energy, mechanical energy. Unless you had a massive amount of panels to absorb a significant % of the suns energy energy that would normally fall on the earth the affect would be a "Fart in a Whirlwind"
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    I take it that there aren't any scientists here. Black does not reflect heat. If you measure a white sidewalk or black asphalt the temperatures can be 40 degrees plus different. I suspect this does cause sizeable localized rise in temperature in cities. Imagine central park with trees or fields of solar panels....you are going to be causing a great deal of localized heat increase. Sadly numerous supporters of renewables never want to honestly discuss reality. They just shout everyone down on everything. Wind Turbine impact on birds and bats, solar panel heat have negatives. I am all for smart renewables....but just taking this stuff hook line and sinker is irresponsible. Geothermal...does not seem to have any negatives. We all know the pros and cons of hydro. I am involved in fights to stop large wind turbines in National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuary. There is a sizable cover up of wind turbine harm to birds and bats....there are many turbines killing 80 plus birds/bats per year (documented) especially low reproducing bats and raptors. This should be publically monitored. currently it is ignored or just covered up.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by venturen View Post
    Black does not reflect heat.
    As noted in post #2.

    If you measure a white sidewalk or black asphalt the temperatures can be 40 degrees plus different. I suspect this does cause sizeable localized rise in temperature in cities.
    The question was about solar panels, not sidewalks or asphalt.

    there are many turbines killing 80 plus birds/bats per year (documented) especially low reproducing bats and raptors. This should be publically monitored. currently it is ignored or just covered up.
    If it is covered up and ignored, how do you know what the numbers are?

    And can you provide a reference for the 80 birds or bats per year?
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  23. #22  
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    The answer is pretty simple. Depending on type of panel only about 15% is going to be converted to electricity and shunted away. All the rest will either be reflected, not much because it's black, or conducted into materials attached to the panel, usually not much energy, leaving the majority to be convected and re-radiated away as IR. So the answer is yes it will increase the air temperature above the panel. But so will most other materials.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    If it is covered up and ignored, how do you know what the numbers are?
    It's been reported but largely ignored by environmental activist groups and government agencies, which are committed to renewable power for ideological reasons.

    On a Wing and Low Air: The Surprising Way Wind Turbines Kill Bats: Scientific American
    Wind Energy Gets Away With Murder - Forbes
    U.S. Wind Turbines Kill 1.4 Million Birds and Bats Every Year | Heartlander Magazine
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