About a month ago, we reported about a laser equipped plane that managed to map out the rooftops of New York City, which basically pointed out viable locations whereby solar panels could be placed to potentially generate enough solar power for the entire city. Now it seems that solar panels, apart from helping to conserve electricity, have another function, one that perhaps was not intentional.

According to new research conducted by the University of California at San Diego, solar panels actually help to insulate your home from heat, and actually lower your air-conditioning bills. Through the use of thermal imaging cameras, the results showed that beneath a solar panel, a building’s ceiling structure was 5 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than under a section of roof that was exposed directly to the sun.

What this meant was that not only is this a rough 5% discount on the solar panel’s price over their lifetime, but it could potentially reduce the need to turn on the air-conditioner unless of course the heat becomes unbearable. It also seems that during winter, the solar panels manage to provide thermal insulation to keep the heat in, which means that there could be a reduction in use of the heater as well, thus saving you even more money.

This works because the solar panels are the ones that bear the brunt of the sun’s heat as opposed to the roof, which would normally allow the heat to pass through and inside the ceiling of the building. Blowing wind also helps to remove much of the heat in the space between the panels and the roof. Perhaps with these recent findings, consumers will start reconsidering the installation of solar panels for their homes.

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