Paint Colors and Solar Panels: Does It Matter?

November 17, 2022

If you're thinking about making the switch to solar power, you might be wondering if the colour of your house paint matters. Can darker colours absorb more heat and therefore produce more power? And on the subject of switching to a more sustainable power for your home, the thought of preparing your home has crossed your mind at least once.

But ask yourself this important question, does the type of paint on your house matter?

But Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself, How do Solar Panels Work in the First Place?

Solar panels work by absorbing sunlight and converting it into electrical energy. The photons in sunlight hit the solar panel and knock electrons loose from their atoms. This flow of electrons is called a current, and it's this current that powers our homes and appliances.

Now, the type of material that solar panels are made of does affect their efficiency. For example, monocrystalline silicon panels are usually more efficient than polycrystalline silicon panels because they're made from a single, uninterrupted crystal of silicon and bifacial solar panels absorb light rebounding from white roofs. However, the colour of the panel doesn't have any bearing on its efficiency. In other words, a black solar panel will generate just as much power as a white one.

And The Unsurprising Answer

The short answer is yes, the type of paint on your house does matter when you're preparing to install solar panels. Solar panels are most effective when directly exposed to sunlight and when they’re in an open area where they can get that exposure. This means that it's important to have a dark, solid surface for them. A light-coloured or reflective paint can make it more difficult for solar panels to absorb sunlight, which means they won't be as effective. If you're not sure what kind of paint is on your house, you can use a light meter to check the reflectance. The lower the number, the better.

That being said, switching to solar power is still a great idea even if your house isn't painted in a dark colour. Solar panels are becoming increasingly efficient, so even if your house isn't perfectly positioned or painted to maximize sunlight absorption, you'll still see savings on your energy bill. Besides that, solar panels can last for 20-30 years with proper maintenance, so even if you do have to repaint your house in a darker colour eventually, it's a long-term investment that will pay off in the end.

The Colour of Your House Paint

 

So if the colour of your solar panels doesn't matter, what about the colour of your house paint? Well, it turns out that paints with a higher absolute thermal emittance (ATE) are better at reflecting heat than those with a lower ATE. In other words, light colours reflect more heat than dark colours. So if you want to keep your home cool in the summer months, it's best to choose light-coloured paint for the exterior walls.

Believe it or not, the colour of your house paint can have a significant impact on the efficiency of your solar panels. Darker colours absorb more light, which means they will be able to generate more power. However, lighter colours reflect more light, which can help to keep your home cooler in the summer months. With this, it's important to choose a paint colour that strikes the right balance between light absorption and reflection. For most people, a mid-range colour like white or cream will be the best option. But if you live in an area with particularly sunny summers, a light blue or green may be a better choice.

However, if you're more concerned about the aesthetic of your home, then you can choose any colour you like. To make sure that the paint job is done carefully and with your best interests in mind, you can always avail of professional painters to do it for you.

What Else Can You Do?

Aside from ensuring your house has the right paint for solar power, there are a few things you can do to maximize the amount of sunlight your home receives.

One is to keep trees and shrubs trimmed so they don’t block the sun. Another is to install reflective window film, which will help bounce sunlight into dark corners of the house. Finally, you can use light-coloured blinds and curtains to help reflect light into the room. Besides those, there are a few other things you can do to make sure your home is solar-ready:

  • Check the orientation of your house. For optimal solar power production, your roof should face south.
  • Make sure your roof is in its best condition. Your solar panels won’t do you any good if it's installed on a rickety roof. Get it fixed or have roof restoration experts keep it in tip-top shape.
  • Install solar panels on a south-facing roof that has a pitch of 30 degrees or more. A steeper pitch will allow the panels to capture more energy from the sun.

By taking these simple steps, you can ensure that your home is ready to take advantage of solar power. With the right preparation, you can start saving money and reducing your carbon footprint today.

Conclusion

When it comes to solar panels and paint colours, there's no need to worry that dark colours will absorb more heat and reduce the efficiency of your solar panels. The type of material your solar panels are made of has more bearing on their efficiency than their colour does. And when it comes to keeping your home cool in the summer months, light-coloured paints are better at reflecting heat than dark colours.

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JJ Sterling
As the co-founder of Urban Splatter and an architecture graduate from Chicago, I thrive on crafting a digital nexus where architectural innovation intersects with boundless digital opportunity. My academic roots in the Windy City's rich architectural tapestry inspire a unique vision for Urban Splatter's journey into the ever-evolving digital frontier of design. Join us as we navigate the exciting confluence of structure, style, and technology.

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