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San Diego, CA-  The benefits of installing solar panels on your home go far beyond the electricity produced. According to new research by the University of California at San Diego, the shade provided by a solar panel array will actually insulate your home from heat to the point of lowering cooling costs. It is estimated that these savings will result in a 5% discount on the price of the system over its lifetime.

The Jacobs school of engineering’s research team used thermal imaging cameras to analyze the difference in heat signatures coming from roofs with and without a solar array. On average, a building’s ceiling structure with a solar array turned out to be 5 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than buildings in the direct Sunlight. One would expect the shaded roof-tops to be cooler, yet the surprise came from how much cooler they turned out to be. In one study, a building was found to experience a 38% reduction in the amount of solar heat directly hitting the roof, indicating that savings can exceed the 5% estimate in the long run.

Your solar panels essentially act as roof shades, taking the brunt of the Sun’s heat.  Air between the panel and the roof helps dissipate this heat as most solar arrays are set up on a tilt. It was found that at night, solar panels also assist in preserving heat stored in the building, being an effective insulator in the winter.

Solar panels can be fastened to most rooftops with minimal perforation or structural interference. There is a wide range of racking and mounting hardware options available, and most of them can be installed by the homeowner or a general contractor.

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