If you've taken the time and effort to invest in solar energy, it can be quite demoralising to have your solar panels damaged. Indeed, when properly cared for, solar panels can last for 20 years and result in significant cost savings during that time.
However, there are external elements that can cause your solar panels to become damaged during their lifespan. Because solar panels are not a cheap investment, it is important to identify common causes of damage and how to avoid them.
Common causes of damage
The main cause of damage to your solar panels is inclement weather and other foreign objects:
Excessive exposure to water can actually damage the electrical connections of your solar panels. Remember that solar panels trap light energy and convert it to electricity.
Therefore, water that leaks into the electrical connectors can damage the system and result in solar power inefficiency.
Fire damage can cause the outside glass surface of the solar panels to bend out of shape, to crack or to break. In addition, excessive voltage from interlinked solar panels can actually cause the connecting wires to overheat and interfere with their overall functionality.
During a hailstorm, hailstones can damage the protective glass that covers solar cells. Hailstones falling at a high velocity can shatter this protective glass and also damage other parts of the solar panel itself.
The same damage can be caused by other falling items such as twigs and rocks.
Preventing solar panel damage
Now that you're aware of the potential risks facing your investment, you can take steps to prevent damage to your solar panels. First off, ensure that your panels are installed away from any falling debris. You can keep them away from trees or regularly prune nearby vegetation to prevent damage from falling items.
If you live in an area where hailstorms are frequent, consider switching to smaller solar panels. Smaller cells don't cause a significant reduction in energy output if a part of them is damaged. In addition, they are less expensive to individually replace. You can also cover your solar panels with a protective outer cover before a hailstorm sets in.
To minimise water damage, make sure all connectors are sealed against leaks. The connectors should also be regularly inspected for any damaged parts.
And finally, the total current of interconnected solar panels should be regularly monitored to prevent damaged wiring or any short circuits. It also helps to maintain a full warranty over your solar panels in case of any manufacturer defects.