solar panel damaged

5 Common Ways Solar Panels Can Be Damaged

Once considered a status symbol, solar panels are now the cheapest way to generate electricity, especially for homeowners. It only took one decade for the price of solar panels to drop by over 82%, and they’re still only increasing in efficiency.

However, placing glass panels on your roof undoubtedly comes with some risks. Luckily, you can plan ahead for them, secure your energy independence, and save money. Let’s talk about the most common ways solar panels can be damaged.

Solar Panel Vulnerabilities

Solar panels have a few critical vulnerabilities that can lead to significant damage under the right conditions. The first is that most residential panels are coated with tempered glass. Tempered glass is strong but susceptible to cracks, scratches, and other damage.

Another vulnerability is that solar panel frames use metal for strength and security. While uncommon, this can lead to solar panel rust, which is essentially cancer for your solar panels.

Finally, another damage is the electrical units. Electrical wiring, connectors, fuses, and circuits all have unique vulnerabilities, whether to pests, high voltage, or other issues.

With these vulnerabilities in mind, let’s talk about the most common ways solar panels receive damage.

Hail Storm Damage

Without a doubt, hail is one of the most common destroyers of solar panels, as it causes damage to over 10 million properties every year across the U.S. Remember, solar panels are covered in glass, which is vulnerable to scratching and cracking. If hail comes down hard enough, or simply at the right angle, it can lead to either of these.

Once the glass cracks, there isn’t much you can do other than replace the glass. Otherwise, water will seep into the glass, leading to many other issues. The cracks themselves will also cause inefficiencies in your panels.

The same goes for scratches. Scratches will block some sunlight from reaching the PV cells, harming your efficiency. This isn’t a big deal for one scratch, but even one hailstorm can cause hundreds at a time.

Choosing the right weatherproof solar panels ahead of time can help prevent this. Before purchasing, talk to your solar installation team about the right glass and panel options for your needs.

Electrical Damage

What do a lightning storm and a bird’s nest have in common? They can both destroy your solar panels.

Yes, the wiring and fuses on your solar panels are designed to conduct electricity, but only so much. A burst of lightning is enough to overload these circuits or fuses, potentially posing a fire hazard. While this is uncommon, it can happen, and you’ll need to contact your solar team or electrician immediately to fix it.

Pests like birds or rats can also nest in your fuse box or wiring areas. If this damages the wiring or electrical system, you may need to replace it.

Debris

Why do your gutters need cleaning every year? Because leaves, twigs, and dirt get onto your roof, and the water sweeps them downward.

Just because your roof is high doesn’t mean debris won’t hit it. Salt trucks and plows come by in the winter and kick up plenty of salt, sand, gravel, and dirt, easily reaching your rooftop solar panels. This debris can scratch your panels with enough velocity, making them more susceptible to rust, water damage, and more.

Heavy Objects

When you first thought about damage to your solar panels, you may have thought of a tree or branch falling on top of them and shattering the glass. Well, that’s more common than you may think, and it can even damage your roof or the structure of your home.

Fortunately, if you have a reputable solar installation service, they will recommend the proper services before beginning. They’ll let you know if any objects around your property pose serious risks to your panels.

Still, severe windstorms can bring heavy objects further than you may want to believe. If this happens to you, make sure you contact your solar company right away.

Water Damage

The glass on your solar panels will be waterproof, but if there is damage to the glass or the frame, water can seep in and harm your PV cells over time. However, that’s not the only potential harm. Excessive moisture on the frame can lead to solar panel rust.

Of course, the frame is meant for outdoor use, but rust is possible with excessive scratches or damage. Again, this is slow-killing cancer to your solar panels, but it’s easy to fix if you notice it early.

Also, this isn’t something you can always see from the ground. Water can appear invisible behind glass, and rust can be hidden out of view.

Consequently, it’s important to have routine maintenance services on your solar panels. Every year, your solar team should come to clean and inspect your panels for such damage. If you notice anything yourself, including differences in your energy bill, contact your company for an early inspection, as this could save money on repairs.

Protect Your Panels Today

Now that you know some common ways solar panels can be damaged, ensure you protect yourself. Choose the right products, hire routine maintenance services annually, and set yourself up for long-term energy savings. If you’re ever worried about damage from a storm, it’s better to be safe than sorry and ask for an inspection.

Stay up to date with our latest solar energy tips, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or for help choosing the right panels for your needs!