The answer to this question is Yes, solar panels continue to work through the glass but their efficacy and power output are never the same as the one that is being exposed to direct sunlight.
The efficiency of solar panels is reduced to 50% when they work through glass. Moreover, the reduction in efficiency depends directly on the performance of the device, solar irradiance, the thickness of the glass, and how clean it is.
Solar Panels are made of photovoltaic cells and produce electricity with the help of photons and solely depend on the number of photons that reach the solar cells.
Solar Panel’s Efficiency On Sun
The efficiency of solar panels depends mainly on solar irradiance. It can be defined as the sun’s input energy to the solar panel’s output energy. Some other factors that should be considered for optimal energy conversion are;
The temperature and strength of solar energy directly affect the efficiency of solar panels as they are made up of semiconductors. Higher temperatures reduce the efficiency of solar panels and as the temperature drops down the efficiency increases.
Placement Of Solar Panel
Solar Panels are made up of photovoltaic cells which require the sun’s energy to generate electricity. The orientation, placement, and inclination all play a vital role in the device’s performance.
The correct latitude and orientation must be taken into consideration to guarantee maximum output.
Energy Conversion Efficiency
Every solar module is different and has a different response to the solar spectrum. There is an indirect relationship between solar irradiance and power generation. A reduction in the reflection of incident light increases energy conversion.
Total or partial shading can cause lower power output and may result in energy losses. Solar panels are highly impacted through shading as they work on the phenomena of photovoltaics.
Even if a single cell is shaded either by foliage or rocks, the overall efficiency of the solar panel is affected.
The Efficiency of Solar Panels Through Glass Effect
In Terms Of Temperature
This is a fact that solar panels can work with glass but their efficiency is reduced as compared to the one placed in the sun’s exposure.
As the maximum output is generated when temperatures are low, wouldn’t it be effective to put solar panels indoors since the temperature is low inside?
Well, the answer is No. because of the greenhouse effect. Houses with so many glass windows and no airflow can have a temperature higher than the outdoors.
Moreover, solar panels work on the phenomena of photovoltaics, which requires more photons reaching the solar cells no matter what the temperature.
Reflection and Refraction
To have a better understanding, we need to know the physics behind the efficiency of solar panels.
The phenomena of reflection and refraction are not new. When the incident light ray touches the solar panel some of it is passed through the panel while other is refracted back.
This refraction results in energy losses and reduced power yield, because only a few numbers of photons become successful in reaching the solar panel.
It is kept in consideration that solar panels when fixed on rooftops are faced towards the south in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, they are faced towards the north as studies have shown this placement is set to yield maximum energy output.
So, whenever you are placing your solar panels inside the house, adjacent to windows either get the sun’s energy early in the morning or in the afternoon, while the maximum solar energy is produced when the sun is at its peak.
However, in caravans there is a slight difference in efficiency as it can be moved according to the sun’s direction but only when the caravan is stationary.
Solar panels that are placed indoors even right beside the window are still partially shaded. A window frame or a tree’s shade might come in a way hindering the sun’s energy to reach the panel.
If your solar panel is fully shaded there will be no production of electricity at all.
Optimization Of Solar Panels Through Glass
Solar panels can be optimized to use through glass however, their efficiency is 50% less than the solar panels exposed directly to the sun.
It is not recommended;
- To reduce refraction loss and shading from window frames and trees, it is advised to put the panels as close to the windows as possible.
- Choose a window that is facing the opposite direction as your hemisphere, like if you’re in the northern hemisphere, choose a window that is facing south.
- Move the solar panel around the house as the sun changes its path, but this can only be done if the solar panel is portable and smaller in size.
- To open the window if the weather conditions are favorable, in this way sunlight will touch the surface of solar cells directly.
Can Solar Panels Work Through Tinted Glass?
The occurrence of reflection and refraction is primarily responsible for generating electricity when solar panels work through regular or tinted glass. The answer to this question is yes, solar panels can work through tinted glass however, their efficiency is only 25%.
The fact that tinted glass reflects half the sunlight that touches its surface. If the remaining absorbed solar energy reaches the solar panel, there are chances that the output might be very limited.
Smaller devices like decorative lights or calculators might operate since they require a lower energy output, however, heavy devices need higher and continuous amounts of solar energy.
Solar panels can be placed indoors and they can work through the glass but their efficiency is reduced to half as compared to the ones placed outdoors or on rooftops.
The reasons behind this reduced efficiency are increased ambient temperature, partial shading, reflection and refraction losses, and the orientation of solar panels.
Solar panels do operate behind glass windows but with limited performance and compromised efficacy.
Furthermore, solar panels produce maximum energy output when exposed to optimum sun irradiance. To generate greater loads of electricity in order to operate heavy equipment, it is recommended to place them directly into sunlight.