Are Solar Panels Waterproof? Your Weather Resistant Energy System
To provide a renewable reliable source of energy, solar panels must be built to last through all types of weather. Even mild seasonal changes come with different challenges such as falling leaves, heavy snow, torrential showers, or blowing dust. With their outdoor location, homeowners want to know whether solar panels are waterproof to ensure their investment will pay off for years to come.
So are solar panels waterproof? What happens if they’re not? Which types of weather can jeopardize your solar panels?
Basic Solar Panel Construction
Yes, solar panels are almost always waterproof. It would be an enormous oversight to mount a rack of solar panels with electrical elements destined to break in the first rainstorm.
Solar panels are waterproof on account of their extremely durable construction. Each solar module or solar panel is a series of layers stacked on top of each other. These layers include:
- The module of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells
- EVA film layers on either side of the solar cells
- Tempered glass on top of the solar cells which allows sunlight in
- A back sheet of polymer film to help protect electrical components
- An aluminum frame surrounding the panel and sealed with water-resistant adhesive
The back sheet and aluminum frame are designed to protect the solar cells and make mounting easy, and they also serve as the main deterrent to any water. In most situations, water slides right off the tempered glass and it has no cracks to seep into. In fact, the occasional rainy spell is likely good for your overall solar system health. Too many days of dry, dusty weather can cause buildup affecting how much sunlight passes through the tempered glass, while an occasional rainstorm can wash away the dust.
But despite the overall waterproof nature of solar panels, it is important to understand how water can damage your solar energy system.
Solar Panels and Water Damage
If the back sheet or aluminum framing fail to keep moisture and water out of the solar panel, there can be a few unfortunate side effects.
Solar panels are meant to sit in the warm sun to generate clean, green energy. If water seeps into your solar panels, this heat may evaporate the water and cause it to condense and cling to the inside of the tempered glass. If the water doesn’t damage your solar panel, it may still affect the panel’s efficiency by blocking the sunlight from reaching the solar cells.
If water remains in your solar panels long enough, it may create the optimal conditions for mold growth, which may then cover solar cells. Similar to the water condensation of vapor blockage, this mold may block sunlight, and if it grows enough, it may damage components.
Once the films are broken and water seeps in, there’s a risk of electrical damage and shortages which may cause several of the cells in a panel to stop working. While the wiring should be protected from small amounts of water, an exposed wire could short out an entire panel or system.
The chance of rainwater leaking into your solar panels is very small, but at Blue Raven Solar, we want you to know your panels will be protected for years to come.
What Can You Do to Waterproof Your Solar Panels?
If you believe your area rains or floods enough to warrant extra vigilance, you can apply aquarium sealant to any gaps or spaces between the edges of a panel, junction box, or any electrical connectors. Before doing so, you should double-check any DIY solutions won’t void your warranty.
Another option is installing a transparent patio cover over your solar panels. This provides further protection from rain and snow while still allowing sunlight to pass through to the solar cells.
The best option is to rely on your protections and customer service which come with installing your solar system in the first place. When you invest in a solar panel system with Blue Raven Solar, it comes with a 25-year manufacturer warranty covering defects in a panel’s construction. If any issues were to arise, manufacturing defects are the most likely reason the layers of your solar panels would have gaps which could lead to leaks. We also offer a 10-year workmanship warranty to cover any improper installation problems resulting in lower efficiency or damage.
When you have your solar system installed by us, you can monitor your solar panels’ production through the Enphase app. If you find your efficiency doesn’t match our two-year production guarantee, we will investigate the issue and find a solution. We do not want water to undermine your solar energy production.
Solar Panels and Other Types of Weather
On top of waterproofed solar panels, you may wonder how your solar system will fare in other types of weather.
Hot and Cold Weather
Solar panels are typically tested at 77°F and generate energy at optimal efficiency when the temperature is between 59°F and 95°F. However, solar panels are rated to withstand temperatures up to 149°F without sustaining damage. Even if a blistering day affects optimal efficiency, you can rely on your solar panels to generate energy. Likewise, solar panels can generate electricity at temperatures as cold as -4°F.
Because solar panels are durable, wind does not frequently affect your energy production. With the proper roof mounting and installation, a solar system can frequently withstand wind speeds up to 120 mph.
A snowstorm rarely poses a threat to your solar system. The main concern with this type of weather is the buildup which can block your solar cells from getting the necessary light to generate electricity. While light snow may blow off your panels or melt quickly, you may need to clear your panels off after a particularly heavy winter storm. Please take a look at our Solar Panel Maintenance and Repairs article for more information on how to do this safely.
Protections for Your Solar Panels and Peace of Mind
Are solar panels waterproof? Almost always. Does this mean they’re impervious to all weather? Not necessarily.
It’s easy to worry about what may come down the road. In an age of climate change, it can be scary to imagine extreme weather having a negative impact on our lives. However, when it comes to clean energy with Blue Raven Solar, our goal is to help you be confident in your solar investment.
With our warranties and guarantees, you have years of reliable support even if your waterproof solar panels experience leaks due to manufacturing defects or mishaps. Our customer service team can help identify your issues and send skilled technicians out to investigate. Once we know what the problem is, we can help guide you through the correct process to resolve it.
If you’re new to solar and looking to see if it’s right for you, you can get a free savings estimate from our team. We can help determine whether your location and average climate, combined with your average power usage, makes solar a good fit for you and your home.