Are Solar Panels Waterproof?
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The world is slowly but surely reducing its dependence on fossil fuels in search of a more abundant energy source. With renewable energy a big topic on everyone’s minds, solar panel installations have increased in all regions of North America. s
Nevertheless, all this solar installation does pose a few questions. For example, does rainwater affect the amount of energy my solar panels produce? Are My solar panels waterproof, or do they need special protection from the elements? And what about hurricanes, blizzards, and hail storms?
In the following article, we will cover some important information you should know about how your solar panels interact with the local climate and what you can do to get the most value from your investment.
Are Solar Panels Waterproof?
The Short answer is: Yes! Most of the solar panels being produced today are made with quality materials and dedicated designs to withstand the attrition of the elements. Many can withstand blizzards, downpours, snow, and ice, they have been designed with formidable materials to withstand this attrition.
Nevertheless, solar panels can be affected by the elements if their installation is not planned carefully. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the things you can do to keep your solar panels functioning optimally despite the weather.
Waterproof Solar Panels
Solar panels are created by an array of solar cells that convert sunlight to energy. This is accomplished through the photovoltaic transfer of energy. This is not an especially new technology — the first silicon photovoltaic cell was invented about half a century ago— nevertheless, solar energy has seen many revolutions since then.
When solar panels first arrived on the market none of them were waterproof. But as solar technology generated greater popularity, the need for a more robust solar panel became evident. Thin layers of glass and then the tempered-safety glass was applied to the panels to make them even more durable.
Today’s solar panels can be found in a variety of strengths and levels of resilience to suit the climate in your location. Some are specially designed to withstand the impact of a hailstorm, and others are designed to withstand excessive rainfall or high wind speeds.
Are My Solar Panels Waterproof?
If you have bought your solar panels within the past decade, they are most likely of the waterproof variety. But you can verify this for yourself. The older solar panels were not waterproof at all, and the earliest waterproof varieties would collect droplets across their surface — making them less likely to absorb solar energy.
Modern solar panels address this issue with a special hydrophobic coating that expels water droplets from the surface of the panel. This will keep them safe if they happen to be exposed to rainfall, and protect them from water collecting on their surface as condensation.
As solar panels are demanded in more extreme conditions and locations, these solar panels have been designed to withstand all types of conditions where they will be needed. This allows them to be placed on rooftops without having to worry about how they will be affected by the weather.
In addition to being waterproof, these advanced solar panels feature advanced photovoltaic cells and other components that absorb a greater amount of energy than previously possible. For this reason, waterproofing must be applied to the entire solar array, including the wiring and all electrical components connected to your solar array or inverter.
For example, you will need a waterproof junction box to protect the inverters that connect your solar generator to your panels.
What Is the Importance of Location in Protecting Your Solar Panels?
Once you have gone over your plans to invest in solar energy, you will need to do some research to find the best options for your home. This takes some careful planning and careful consideration. Whether or not you will make bank with your solar-powered investment, depends on a wide variety of details. A lot of what will make or break your investment will be determined by your choice of locations — it is no exaggeration to say that anyone who has made a winning off this investment has spent many hours preparing and planning for this success.
The roof is the most obvious place for most people to install their solar panels, high above the ground they will enjoy better reception and less disruption. But you will need to have your roof inspected by a qualified expert to ensure your current structure can withstand the additional weight, and if installing on the roof is even your best option.
You may find that your roof will require extra support if it will bear the extra weight. Then, the solar panel can be placed on a south-facing overhang on the leeward side of the roof where it will be protected from wind, but enjoy ample sunlight as well. A qualified solar panel installation expert will be able to point out which are the most efficient installation options for you in your situation.
While rainfall and other types of precipitation may not be seriously damaging for solar panels, the wind can throw around tree limbs and other airborne materials. If branches and other objects were thrown in the wind to impact the solar panel, the results could be very damaging.
When installing solar panels on your roof be sure to place them away from the edges of the roof. Panels placed closer to the edge have a greater risk of being impacted by flying objects. Furthermore, if you have a very strong wind in your locations, you should consider placing the panels somewhere they will be protected from this wind.
It is important to choose the installation of your solar panel array somewhere it is least likely to be struck by moving objects, but also in a space clear enough to get ample natural sunlight. In addition to keeping them clear from trees and vegetated areas, you will also want to keep debris and litter away from the area around your solar panels.
One of the most exciting aspects of the ever-evolving solar technology is the many new ways it can be applied to suit the needs of the users. Two of the options that have been gaining much popularity for being efficient and practical are ground-based solar installations and community solar gardens.
Solar gardens are community centers where all the solar energy for the entire community is located, maintained, and stored. Solar gardens are popular because they can save space and costs while maximizing the protection solar arrays in the area receive from the elements.
Ground-mounted solar panel arrays are also a very popular option, but they do require a portion of your property to be dedicated to solar energy.
A Good Warranty Protects Against Cases of Water Damage
You may have heard of cases where solar panels have been destroyed by water damage. While there may be many reasons for this, most often this is due to a manufacturer’s defect. But this is a considerably rare occurrence and covered by a proper warranty as either a production or construction issue.
When choosing the solar panels for your investment, make sure they include the following warranties:
Production Warranty — this covers errors in the production that can result in cracking during a hailstorm, for example.
Equipment & Battery WAC — this will protect your investment from construction errors that can become severely deteriorated by environmental issues.
If They Are Constantly Rained On, Will The Solar Panels Lose Their Longevity?
It is a myth that solar panels that receive heavy rain will deteriorate faster than those with plenty of sunlight. But heavy rain can indeed make solar panels less effective, the most power is available from the full light of the sun.
But if you do live in a region with intermittent wind and rain, you may want to consider how you will keep your solar arrays clean from dust that can accumulate across their surface and reduce their capacity for absorbing solar rays. Nothing excessive is necessary, just clean water and a soft cloth. But if your solar panels are located in an obscure corner of the roof, they may be harder to clean.
Final Notes on Are Waterproof Solar Panels?
Yes! Solar Panels are Waterproof! The solar energy industry is evolving to meet the needs of solar power operations in all corners of the globe. A waterproof solar panel array could allow you to generate your solar energy and even turn a profit on the solar energy produced. But this will only work if your solar panels are well suited for their work and installed with the greatest planning and attention to detail.
For best results, take the time to plan for keeping your solar panels safe from environmental damage, especially physical damage. Much of this protection will be applied when you choose the location for your solar array. This should be done with a qualified solar panel expert. Your solar panels will also need to be cleaned and maintained so keep that in mind as you choose the best location for your solar array.