When it comes to solar energy, one very hot topic is: Do solar panels get hot? This question could be on your mind if you worry that your solar panel system might not hold up during the summer heat or if you live in a climate that’s warm year round.
Keep in mind that solar panels are installed on top of the roof, exposing them to the elements. So, yes, hot temperatures will affect them. How well your solar energy system performs under these circumstances depends on a lot of different factors ― like the quality of the panels, their efficiency rating and just how hot the temperature gets.
So, how hot do solar panels get? And can the weather get too hot for solar panels to work? Let’s find out if solar panels can take the heat.
Do solar panels get hot?
Do solar panels get hot? If the weather calls for shorts and a t-shirt, your solar panels will feel it. When the temperature outside climbs, so does the temperature of solar panels. This is especially true when:
- Direct sunlight hits them during the summer
- The home gets days, weeks or months of hot weather
- A short or long heat wave affects the area
- The home is located in a climate that stays warm and humid all year
You might wonder if these conditions could make it too hot for solar panels to do their job. You’ll be happy to hear that while their efficiency will decline to an extent, most panels can still do their job in extreme heat.
Plus, reputable solar panel manufacturers take heat into account when designing the panels. This is especially true of Tier 1 panels. These premium solar panels lose less output when the temperature rises and over their lifetime.
How hot do solar panels get? Does it matter?
Manufacturers test residential solar panels at 77° F. They’re most effective in temperatures between 59° F and 95° F. However, solar panels can reach temperatures of up to 149 degrees Fahrenheit and still operate. That’s the “solar panel max temperature” of most panels. If they reach temperatures higher than 149 degrees, the power output efficiency of the panels will decline.
Factors that affect the temperature of solar panels include:
- How hot or cold the air around them gets
- What kind of material makes up the roof’s composition
- How much direct sunlight the roof receives
- The home’s distance from the equator
Most solar panels are made of silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells. The cells are encased in a sheet of glass and a metal frame holds the panel together. The materials used are similar to those that form the frame and windows of a car. Yes, the frame and windows will get hot if the car is exposed to the sun for hours.
Similarly, extreme heat won’t destroy solar panels. Since these panels are made to withstand weather-related stressors like heat, hot temperatures won’t prevent them from performing. While heat diminishes their power output, hot days won’t stop it entirely. Chances are slim that the panels would ever get too hot to function. This means that even when the heat is on, you don’t have to worry.
That said, we don’t recommend touching the panels if you happen to be up on the roof. They can get hotter than the air around them.
How temperature affects solar panel efficiency
A solar panel’s energy production drops with each degree the temperature rises over 77° F. The temperature coefficient measures how much efficiency a panel loses for each degree the temperature goes up. The lower the temperature coefficient rating, the better. The industry average is around 0.28%/°F.
Temperature coefficient is used to determine a solar panel’s energy output rating. Since the temperature outside affects the energy output, higher temperatures reduce it. For example, the output power of a panel with a temperature coefficient of -0.50%/°F will fall by half of a percent for every degree the temperature rises above 77° F. While this decrease might sound modest, a roof can reach temperatures that are quite high on a sweltering summer day. When this happens, the output power loss can be significant.
So, are solar panels less efficient when hot? The answer is “yes.” As long as the sun is shining, cold weather is more beneficial for solar panel performance than hot weather. That said, keep in mind that these panels are engineered to withstand stressors like heat. Manufacturers realize that they’ll inevitably get exposed to high temperatures at some point and they design the panels with this fact in mind. As a result, when hot weather does reduce their energy output, it won’t prevent them from functioning altogether.
And when the temperature dips below 77° F, the temperature coefficient becomes positive. As a result, the efficiency of solar panels will improve in cooler weather. This change can help offset shorter days in winter and any losses that happen during hot weather. If you live in a warm region that lacks distinct winter and summer weather cycles, choosing solar panels with a low temperature coefficient is a smart move.
Some of our favorite solar panels that fall into this category include:
- Canadian Solar CS6K-300 ― 0.22%/°F
- Q Cells ― -0.61%/°F
- Silfab Solar ― -0.50%/°F
Get a customized solar energy system
If you’re worried about weather conditions making it too hot for solar panels, you can put your mind at ease. We take factors like heat into account when helping homeowners decide whether to go solar. When you choose ADT Solar as your solar panel installer, we customize your system according to your family’s energy needs and goals.
Get the information you need about going solar, including a free quote from a solar expert who can answer all your questions.