'Too much Sun for Solar Panels' is hurting Europe’s solar industry

With clear skies and near-constant sunlight, European summers should be high season for the solar power industry.

But while solar panels feed on sunlight, Europe is in the grips of a record-breaking heatwave, and extreme heat is no friend to solar energy producers.

The heat that has been scorching parts of the U.K. and western and southern Europe has set temperature records, started wildfires, damaged infrastructure, and is leaving behind a mounting death toll.

High temperatures have sent electricity demand in Europe soaring, and combined with an ongoing shortage of natural gas on the continent since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, renewable energy sources such as solar have had to step up.

Over the weekend, Germany broke the country’s record for solar power output, with even higher levels of electricity generation expected this week as the heatwave rages. 

But if temperatures remain elevated for long, it might actually risk slowing down solar energy’s output.

Solar panels around the world are manufactured and tested to function optimally at around 77°F, or 25°C

The range in which most solar panels can still operate at peak efficiency is between 15°C and 35°C.

Any hotter, and utility and installation companies warn that a panel’s efficiency can start dropping fast.

And with temperatures in Spain, Britain, and other European cities already surpassing 40°C or expected to hit that mark soon, solar energy’s output could start falling soon

Even solar panel providers have warned that solar output could hit a ceiling due to high temperatures.