Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The combination of green roofs with rooftop solar panels can boost solar cell efficiency right now, without waiting for new high tech breakthroughs...


Green Roofs Pave the Way to Cheap Solar Power

The combination of green roofs with rooftop solar panels can boost solar cell efficiency right now, without waiting for new high tech breakthroughs…

green roofs boost solar cell efficiencyThe combination of green roofs with rooftop solar panels can provide a quick and easy way to boost solar cell efficiency right now, making it more cost effective for property owners to invest in a rooftop solar installation without waiting for new technology breakthroughs to hit the market. Though at first glance it may seem that solar panels and vegetation don’t mix, the solar industry has been coming up with new rooftop infrastructures that enables greenery to thrive between the photovoltaic modules.

Solar Panels that Tiptoe Through the Tulips

One main concern when siting solar panels on a green roof is enabling enough water to reach the plants. In conventional solar installations, the modules are mounted on concrete slabs and that prevents water from distributing evenly across the roof. The solution, according to the International Green Roof Association, is to mount the panels on boards that double as drainage layers, a system that is becoming common in the two green roof hotspots of Europe, Germany and Switzerland.

The other concern is excessive shade from the solar panels. So far, though, the research indicates that while some stunting does occur, the addition of shade to a green roof can improve the overall health of the roof by promoting biodiversity. Shade from the solar panels provides a habitat for plants and various kinds of critters that don’t thrive in full sunlight.

Green Roofs Boost Solar Cell Efficiency

The company Green Roof Technology has just introduced a combination solar panel-green roof system it calls “Sun-Root,” and its chief Jörg Breuning sums up the concept nicely: “Heat is the enemy of energy production.” Excess heat prevents photovoltaic cells from operating at peak efficiency. While solar researchers are developing new advanced solar cell technologies to get around that problem, green roofs have a proven ability to cool down surface temperatures. The natural cooling effect of green roofs can boost photovoltaic efficiency significantly, by up to 16 percent according to one study.

Green Roofs for the U.S. Military

Given the alacrity with which the Department of Defense is preparing for the end of oil by adopting alternative energy and energy conservation technologies, it should be no surprise that green roofs are already sprouting up at military facilities around the country, including a new green roof at DoD’s brand new LEED gold billion-dollar office complex in Virginia. It’s only a matter of time before the solar-green roof crossover hits the military market, and from there it’s just a short hop over to the mainstream mass market.

Image (green roof): Daisy. License Attribution Some rights reserved by SnowBunny_01.

Follow Tina Casey on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.


Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Electrifying Industrial Heat for Steel, Cement, & More

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


You May Also Like


Woke or not, the US Army has invested $10 million in new silicon battery technology.


The US Army is testing a new flow battery that can suck up wind and solar energy like a high tech vacuum.

Green Economy

In another bad sign for fossil energy stakeholders, the apparel industry supply chain is focusing more attention on recycling pre-consumer and post-consumer petrochemicals.


The US Army is pursuing new silicon energy storage technology for light weight, long lasting portable batteries.

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.