Solar power is certainly the best renewable energy source you can go for. Most of the investment will go on the solar panels that will grab the DC electricity from the sunlight. You will install all the panels on the roof or an open place directly under the sun, where they have no cover on them. Their exposure to the open environment makes it dangerous for them as they don’t have protection.
However, solar panels are usually strong and rigid enough to survive for more than 25 years of continuous work. When it comes to the question, can you walk on solar panels, the answer would depend on what you’re doing and how you’re doing it? What about if you already have a broken panel in hand, will it work with the broken surface? Stick to the article to know if your panels can break and would they work after getting cracked.
Are solar panels easily damaged?
Solar panels are the biggest chunk of the investment in a solar power system for a good reason. So, the importance of being strong enough to last a long time is crucial as the value for the money depends on that. Keeping that on the mind, solar panel manufacturers try to make their products as strong as possible.
As a result, solar panels aren’t too bad to get compromised easily with a small impact or so. Solar panels are strong enough to stand against hailstones, small branches, dust, and dirt on the surfaces. You can even step on a solar panel if it has a good framing to support it evenly form every corner if you have to.
Can a Broken Solar Panel Work?
Solar panels are strong enough to stand still while getting quite a lot of impact. However, the surfaces are made from tempered glass, and glass is fragile. The question is, are they strong enough that can you walk on solar panels? If you end up getting a broken panel, will it still work? If it works, how much output can you expect from it? Let’s see!
Understand what is broken
Solar panels are sandwiches of layers, including Encapsulant, Crystalline cells, Backsheets between the glass and frame. The Crystalline cells are the main worker here; they grab the photons from the sunlight and produce current from them. There are multiple Crystalline cells in a single solar panel, and they work separately.
Most of the time, the upper glass layer gets the impact that breaks it down. So, the Crystalline cells are still doing its job under the broken glass, which means it’s still producing current. However, if the Crystalline cells get damaged, the specific cell will stop working and produce less voltage.
Cells may degrade underneath
Now you may think you can leave it there and get current with the broken glass on the panel. Hold on; you cannot just leave the panel with the crystalline cells exposed to the bare outdoors. As they are tempered glasses, it won’t just break and come off the panel entirely. They will break like a car window and have a pattern-break with an opening to the cells.
So, it will surely get inside and start to degrade the crystalline cells whenever it rains or builds on dust and dirt. If the crystalline cells degrade, they will get weak and give you less current. Once you get a crack or impact on the glass, you must try to repair it, if you want to get long service from the broken panel.
Repair the panel
If you have a broken panel with broken glass and intact cells, you can repair the panel and keep using it. To repair the glass, you have to use epoxy resin, a bowl to mix in, and something to push the resin on the glass. Make sure the epoxy you’re getting is waterproof and doesn’t fade on direct sunlight. Take the panel off the frame, put it on a flat surface, and clean it thoroughly before starting the repair process.
Mix in the epoxy resin into a bowl, apply it on the surface and spread it around from edge to edge. Don’t make the spread uneven and keep it out of dust and let the application dry off. Once the epoxy is completely dry on the surface, you can apply 3-4 more layers of the coat to make it sturdy. Check the panel before starting the repair project and do the same after the repair.
Cleaning and Maintenance Tips for Solar Panels
Solar panels are sturdy and strong enough to withstand harsh weather for decades with integrity. However, you must take good care of the panels to get the expected lifespan with good service. Here are some must-know tips for taking care of your solar panels and helping them serve you the best:
- Keep your solar panels out of shade by setting them ideally where there is no tree to stand between them and the sun. Best if you can set them on your roof and clean the path of the sunlight to them.
- Monitor your solar system if they’re delivering the right voltage and working with the full potential. Have a look at the inverter if the light is green, which indicates the solar system is compensating your energy bills.
- Give the panels a regular maintenance job to ensure the panels are not building any dust or dirt on them. Especially, make sure the joints do not get corrosion or rust over time, which can weaken the system.
- Use soapy water and a soft sponge brush to clean the panels and keep the surfaces fully open to the sunlight. It’s important to do because they cannot produce current if they don’t get the full sunlight.
- You can install an automatic cleaning mechanism for the solar panels if you cannot do regular cleaning. Automatic cleaners, also known as robotic cleaners, will have water sprinkles and automatic wipers.
Frequently asked questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions about solar panels and how they work; you’ll find them helpful as well:
Can a Broken Solar Panel Work?
A broken solar panel can still produce voltage, and it can work just fine as long as the breaking isn’t too big. It will make less output since some of the blocks of the panel aren’t working.
Do solar panels work if covered in snow?
Solar panels need exposure to the sun to produce electricity from the photon extraction. If they get covered in snow or dirt, the sunlight cannot touch the surface and cannot work properly.
Do solar panels get damaged in hail?
Solar panels usually come strong enough to withstand harsh weather, such as thunderstorms or hail. However, the panel has a glass-made surface, and glass is fragile to break from extreme hail.
Installing a solar power system requires you to invest a hectic one-time amount of money. Hail, strong wind, sudden problems, and even getting on the roof to repair them might make them vulnerable. If you have to step on your solar panels for obvious reason, make sure you’re getting the right solar panels while purchasing.
Only then can you walk on solar panels or treat them harshly if you have the right panels and a good setup. However, try not to walk or put mass on them while cleaning because glass is fragile and slippery. If you end up with a broken layer of glass on the panel, you can still repair it unless the cells are broken.