- Why do Solar Panels Create Glare Light?
- What Kind of Solar Installation Scenarios Require Special Consideration for the Effects of Glare?
- How Can We Reduce the Effects of Glare from Solar Panels?
You might not have thought about it, but solar panels can cause issues with glare, even though they're designed to absorb sunlight rather than reflect it. When the sun is at a low angle, these panels can create glare pollution, despite being good at absorbing light that hits them directly. Choosing cheaper solar panels and installers who aren't certified can result in some glare from your panels. This can be bothersome for people living nearby and can be a significant issue in large solar farms. Could your panels be a nuisance to your neighbors or draw unwanted attention? We'll explore this topic more deeply in our article, discussing solar panels and their reflections, and we'll also look at some technologies in solar panels that help reduce glare pollution.
Why do Solar Panels Create Glare Light?
"Glare light" is essentially an overly bright or intense light that can lead to discomfort or even hinder vision. This phenomenon occurs when the visibility of objects is diminished due to the bright light source, often exacerbated by a stark contrast between the light and its surroundings.
The solar cell type plays a key role in glare. It's important to understand that photovoltaic (PV) cells differ in how they absorb light. For example, monocrystalline silicon cells are highly effective at absorbing sunlight, making them popular in premium solar panels. However, even the best PV cells can absorb only around 80% of sunlight, with the rest being reflected.
Reflective surfaces contribute significantly to glare. Solar panels typically have reflective glass surfaces and PV ribbons. When sunlight strikes these components, it can be reflected, causing glare.
The mounting angle is crucial in relation to glare. The lower the sun's angle, the higher the chance of photons hitting reflective surfaces and causing glare. Additionally, a lower sun angle means more direct sunlight on the panels. Therefore, in areas with direct sunlight, adjusting the panels' tilt away from populated areas can help reduce glare.
Finally, the environment around the solar panels can affect glare. Panels placed near highly reflective surfaces or bodies of water are more likely to cause glare issues.
What Kind of Solar Installation Scenarios Require Special Consideration for the Effects of Glare?
When installing solar power plants, certain scenarios demand special attention to glare effects, considering their impact on the environment, safety, and aesthetics. Among these, installations near airports are particularly sensitive:
Solar plants near airports can be a hazard if glare disrupts pilots' visibility during critical phases like takeoff or landing. It's vital to consider glare impacts and work with aviation authorities to ensure safety. Keeping solar panels a specific distance from airports and carefully considering their installation angle and orientation are key to avoiding glare that could compromise aircraft safety.
Regulations for Solar Panel Installation Near Airports:
In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sets rules to prevent glare that could impair pilots, necessitating that solar farms be located at least five miles from airports and use specialized low-glare PV cells.
Similarly, in Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) follows FAA guidelines when assessing solar installations near airports. They emphasize the importance of solar panels being designed to absorb rather than reflect light. The FAA advises conducting a glare analysis for any solar farm situated along the runway path and within 2 nautical miles from the end of a runway. This ensures that the solar installations do not pose a risk to aviation safety.
Solar installations near highways or roads with heavy traffic are a point of concern. The glare from solar panels might distract drivers, posing a risk to road safety. It's crucial to position these panels properly and implement glare reduction strategies. When selecting a site for solar panels near a motorway, it's advisable to choose a location somewhat removed from the road to lessen the chances of glare directly impacting drivers.
Residential Roof Areas and Urban Settings:
The installation of solar panels in residential neighborhoods or urban areas, including places with high foot traffic like parks, requires careful consideration of glare effects. To prevent solar panel glare from affecting residents and passersby, it’s important to opt for low-glare solar panels and carefully determine the installation location and angle. This consideration is particularly crucial for panels installed on residential rooftops, as they can potentially cause conflicts with neighbors due to glare issues, as evidenced by anecdotes shared online by individuals experiencing such disputes.
Below is an article told by a certain glare victim about the adverse effects of glare from solar panels installed by his neighbours:
Natural Scenic Areas and Water Bodies:
In locations close to natural habitats, tourist spots, or bodies of water, it's important to be mindful of how solar panel installations might affect the local wildlife and the scenic value of the area. Minimizing the disruption to natural habitats and preserving the aesthetic appeal of these areas is key. To reduce the glare, especially near water where reflection can be more pronounced, choosing solar panels with anti-glare properties is advisable. Adjusting the angle of installation can also help mitigate glare. Additionally, planting low-growing vegetation around the solar panels can help absorb some of the sunlight, reducing reflection and blending the installation more seamlessly with the natural surroundings. These measures contribute to a more balanced integration of solar energy infrastructure with the environment.
How Can We Reduce the Effects of Glare from Solar Panels?
To mitigate the glare effects of solar panels, several strategies can be employed. One effective approach is to choose solar panels with low-glare technology, such as those with low-reflectance cells or anti-reflective coatings.
IBC (Interdigitated Back Contact) solar panels are an excellent option for reducing glare pollution. These panels are designed to maximize sunlight capture while minimizing shadows and losses due to frontal metal conductors. Key features and principles of IBC solar panels that contribute to glare minimization include:
No PV Ribbon on the Front Side: IBC solar cells are distinguished by their contacts being placed on the back of the cell, eliminating the need for PV Ribbon on the front. This design reduces shading, enhances electrical performance, and lessens visual impact. The absence of front-side PV Ribbon also reduces the reflection of silver welding strips, leading to an average reflectivity of just 1.7%. This low reflectivity makes IBC solar cells particularly effective in reducing environmental impact and light pollution in nearby areas.
Back Surface Field (BSF): IBC solar cells often use a Back Surface Field design, which involves a thin layer of material on the cell's backside. This design boosts light absorption efficiency and decreases glare by minimizing reflections.
Anti-reflective Coating: Many IBC solar panels are equipped with anti-reflective coatings on their glass surfaces. These coatings help to decrease reflections and increase light absorption, aiding in glare reduction.
Maysun Solar’s IBC solar panel, for instance, has an average reflectivity of only 1.7%, significantly reducing its environmental impact and light pollution. These panels also offer high power generation efficiency, pleasing aesthetics, low cost, and a low temperature coefficient. An image below shows a German customer installing Maysun’s IBC 430W full black solar panels, exemplifying their practical application. For more information about such products, interested parties are encouraged to explore further.
Addressing glare pollution from solar panels involves a combination of strategies beyond just using low-glare panels. Black solar installation accessories, like brackets and frames, play a crucial role. They absorb excess light, reducing unwanted reflections and glare. Adjusting the installation angle of the panels is also vital, as it accounts for the varying positions of the sun throughout the day and year.
Maintaining a proper distance between solar panels and nearby roads is another effective method to lessen glare's impact, particularly during critical times like sunrise or sunset. Additionally, strategically planting vegetation near solar panels can help absorb light and further decrease reflections.
In sensitive environments like airports, highways, and residential areas, it's crucial to carefully evaluate glare issues when installing photovoltaic solar power stations. Adhering to regulations from authorities, such as aviation bodies, ensures both the effective operation of solar panels and the safety and comfort of people nearby. Using advanced technologies like IBC solar panels, which are designed to minimize glare, along with thoughtful planning in terms of orientation, distance, and vegetation, helps balance efficient solar energy harnessing with minimizing visual disturbances.
Maysun Solar, specializing in high-quality photovoltaic modules since 2008, offers a range of panels including full black, black frame, silver, and glass-glass types, featuring half-cut, MBB, IBC, and Shingled technologies. These panels not only perform well but also offer stylish designs that integrate smoothly with any building's aesthetics. With offices, warehouses, and strong relationships with installers in many countries, Maysun Solar is ready to provide module quotations or assist with any PV-related inquiries. They are eager to help customers with their needs.
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