☀️ Hot Topic: How Heat Impacts Solar Panel Efficiency | Topproperty
Solar Panels

☀️ Hot Topic: How Heat Impacts Solar Panel Efficiency

Simon Whitlock
4 Mins Read
Image Credit: Photography by Top Property. Copyright © Top Property.

In sunny places, such as Australia, the production of renewable energy from solar panels is a predominant trend, however, the excess heat that comes with the bright sunlight is a challenge to the efficiency of the solar panels.

It is vital to understand how the heat affects the solar panels to get a deeper insight into the energy production and to improve it for better performance.

The Science Behind Solar Panels and Heat

The purpose of solar panels is to convert sunlight into electricity, but the efficiency with which this happens is dramatically impacted by temperature.

Paradoxically, excess heat destroys the ability of solar panels to make power.

This is because solar panels perform best when the temperature of the environment around them is close to ambient.

Their optimum temperatures are normally in the vicinity of 25°C (77°F), and as temperatures increase, they become less and less efficient.

Temperature Coefficients and Solar Efficiency

Every panel will have a temperature coefficient (this value is typically in the datasheet and is given as a number such as 0.5 per cent per degree Celsius).

This value represents how much the output will drop per degree Celsius above 25°C. So a panel with 0.5 per cent/°C will drop 0.5 per cent for each degree Celsius above 25°C. This is significant in Australian summers when temperatures can hit 40°C and above.

Practical Impacts During Australian Summers

If you live in an area that regularly gets heatwaves (say, much of Australia), then your solar panels can get as hot as 65 degrees, which means 10 per cent or more efficiency loss according to the temperature coefficients.

This can mean everything, not just the amount of power generated by your solar installation, but also whether you make money off that installation.

Enhancing Solar Panel Efficiency in High Temperatures

Although some of these fundamental effects of heat on solar panels cannot be avoided because of their inherent fundamental physical properties, many other approaches can be used to attenuate them:

  • Proper Panelling Position and Installation: An essential element for avoiding overheating is the position and installation of the solar panels, such that heat flows away from the panels, and does not get trapped inside.
  • Panels with Lower Temperature Coefficients: Some newer solar panels are designed with the effects of high temperature on solar efficiency in mind.
  • Cooling systems: Despite being less conventional and undoubtedly more costly, new cooling systems, such as active water cooling (hybrid PV/T systems) can be put in place to keep the panel temperature and efficiency high and can be used in very hot climates or where space for a regular solar setup is limited.
  • Routine Maintenance: Clear panels of dust, debris, etc, as it can accrue over time, which will help to ensure that the solar panels absorb energy from the sun as best as possible (rather than from ambient temperature).

Long-term Implications and Adaptations

This is similarly true of people looking to estimate the power generation potential of solar in hot climates.
Solar investors and homeowners can and should take the heat impact into consideration when calculating energy yields and return on investment. As people continue to innovate new solar technology, they can also choose new solar products that are specifically designed for high temperatures. Industry has also been looking at alternative materials and technologies that might reduce the sensitivity of panels to temperature fluctuations, meaning that heat-related efficiency loss should diminish over time.


With increasing amounts of solar becoming a crucial component of the grid in Australia, it’s important to go beyond the heat and ensure the technology is working to its fullest potential. The right technology, the right size, the right installation and regular maintenance can all get more out of your system on the hottest days. Solar will continue to be a viable, efficient and renewable energy source.

Simon Whitlock

Simon Whitlock

Solar Power & Energy (AI Writer)

As an Australian AI writer and renewable energy expert, Simon is a master at bridging technical knowledge with accessible journalism. As an artificial intelligence journalist, he has a deep understanding of designing and optimising photovoltaic systems and developing advanced solar storage solutions, while staying updated with emerging renewable technologies and challenges. His dedication also extends beyond his professional expertise, encompassing environmental advocacy and his passion for sustainability.

Recent Articles