Infrared Solar Panel

Advantages and Disadvantages of an Infrared Solar Panel

An infrared solar panel is more efficient at converting the suns energy in to electricity or hot water in comparison to a non-infrared panel. However, there is a downside and it is not for everyone.

In this article we will be looking to answer the following questions:

  • What is an Infrared Solar Panel?
  • Why Should We Use an Infrared Solar Panel?
  • Who Should Use It and Who Doesn’t Need To?

What is an Infrared Solar Panel

An infrared solar powered system can be either made up photovoltaic cells, the conventional solar panel which generates electricity or a solar thermal panel which generates hot water. An infrared solar panel can absorb infrared sunlight and produce energy from it and a non-infrared panel can’t.

The sun gives out light at different wavelengths and infrared light is at the high end of the spectrum. To enable a panel to collect infrared light, the glass which covers the solar collectors has to use a different technology and materials. It has to be treated with a special coating material called “Low Iron”. When looking at the specification of a solar panel , look for the “Glass” section, and if it reads “Low Ironed Tempered Glass” then it is an infrared panel and if it reads “Normal Ironed Tempered Glass” then it is not.

Why Should We Use an Infrared Solar Collector

When the sun is shining directly on to a solar collector panel both the infrared and non-infrared panels will absorb the same amount of the sun’s energy. However, when the sun goes behind a cloud, the only light which can be turned into energy is infrared light so the non-infrared panels stop producing energy at this point.

Infrared collectors have another advantage and that is the “Low Ironed Tempered Glass” has an emission figure of 3% in comparison to 88% for “Normal Ironed Tempered Glass”. The lower the emission the greater the energy conversion efficiency of the solar panel. The emission is the percentage of energy the solar panel can release back into the atmosphere. To use a building example, the fact is double glazed windows are designed to have a very low emission rating because they are designed to keep the heat inside the home and not let it escape through the glass and a solar panel with “Low Ironed Tempered Glass” works the same way.

Who Should Install an Infrared Solar Panel and Who Doesn’t Need To

The downside of infrared products is that they are more expensive than traditional panels. Therefore, they are only worth getting if you live in a part of the world where there is often a lot of cloud cover during daylight hours. If you live in a hot temperate climate, then you don’t probably need them because the standard solar panels are just as efficient as the infrared panels when the sun is shining directly on them.

To summarize the main points, an infrared panel is basically a standard solar panel whose glass has been treated with a special coating which enables it to harvest infrared sunlight. Infrared light has a wavelength of 800 to 1200nm and is the only light that can be converted into energy if the sun goes behind a cloud. Both the standard panel and infrared panel can convert the same amount of the suns energy for the time the sun is shining directly on the collectors. Therefore, in conclusion, because infrared panels are more expensive, it only makes sense to install them if you live in a climate where there is often a lot of cloud cover or you have a big enough budget which can absorb the additional cost.

Do you have any experience with using infrared solar panels?

If you have any experience of using infrared and non-infra solar panels, or know of any websites that have carried out trials comparing efficiency of these panels, please tell us about them by leaving a comment below. Just scroll to the bottom of this page to leave a comment. You can comment on your own experiences or point to websites you like.


10 Comments on Infrared Solar Panel

  1. Misbe on Wed, 15th Apr 2009 9:36 am
  2. How solar reduces electric bill can you help with this question, I’m not clear how solar panels reduces my electric bill.

  3. Simon on Wed, 15th Apr 2009 9:43 am
  4. Solar panels can help reduce your electric bill in two ways. The first is by reducing your dependency on your utility electric provider. This is done by using the electric generated from your solar panels to run the appliances in your home. The second way of reducing your electric bill is to feed the electricity you have generated back to the grid which has the effect of reversing your electric meter. If you are interested in generating your own solar electricity then check out this build your own solar panel.

  5. sharif on Sat, 21st Nov 2009 2:37 am
  6. do u help me about how much energy drop at d Dhaka, Bangladesh PER square meter and its reference

  7. Joe on Fri, 24th Sep 2010 9:51 am
  8. great info , thanks alot it did help me out with my DIY solar panels. I live in the rain forrest so you bet i will be geting STARFIRE tempered glass unless i get less cost glass that can do the same job.

  9. john on Tue, 1st Mar 2011 11:45 am
  10. “The sun gives out light at different wavelengths and infrared light is at the high end of the spectrum. ”

    I think that infrared light is at the low end of the spectrum is correct?

    I am keen to find out what is the latest tech with regard to infrared cells.
    This would enable us to use stored heat.

    More info?

  11. Birk Andersen on Wed, 16th Mar 2011 8:20 pm
  12. I live near Toronto,

    Would my location be recomended for INFRARED SOLAR PANEL.
    I’am refering to the questional cloud cover that we do have off and on.

  13. Bruce Schimmel on Mon, 30th May 2011 5:12 am
  14. Infrared is at the bottom and ultraviolet is at the high end of the spectrum. A good way to remember this is the name ROY G. BIV, which stands for Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet. Those are the visible spectrum. Infrared is right below red. Ultraviolet is right above violet.

  15. Stephen McMahon on Sat, 24th Dec 2011 1:07 pm
  16. Just so I understand,the infrared solar panel will produce the same amount of electricity on a cloudy day as a regular solar panel on a sunny day,is this correct?

  17. Philip Dordoh-Gasu on Thu, 22nd Mar 2012 9:55 am
  18. how does the infra red get trapped into the glass plate of solar pannel without comming out of it ?

  19. Emily Dandrikk on Tue, 1st May 2012 11:59 pm
  20. I’m doing a science presentation on solar panels. I though that normal solar panels can work during cloudy days if they have batteries. Am I right or did I just get this mixed up with infrared solar panels?

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