Exploring the Different Facets of Solar Panel Durability

We all care about durability for any products or equipment we use regularly in our homes or offices, and a great example here is those who have installed solar panels in these areas. Naturally, you want to know that your panels are durable and will hold up despite their regular exposure to weather elements.

At Intermountain Wind & Solar, we're happy to provide clients with a wide range of solar power needs, both in terms of residential and commercial solar power. When clients ask us about the durability of their panels, they often have a few specific questions in particular areas. Here are some of the most common such areas, plus how to think about durability when it comes to your solar panels.

Basics on Solar Panel Manufacturing

Without getting too technical, let's take a quick look at what's under the hood when it comes to solar panel durability. As with most things, solar panels are made of a number of layers that each serve different purposes. The front surface contains the photovoltaic cells – these do the actual generating of electricity when light hits them.

On top of this layer is typically another transparent anti-reflective coating to further improve efficiency, and this is what the user will actually see. The next layer is a encapsulation that keeps it all together and protects the internal components, and this is what most people think of when they talk about solar panels being weatherized or durable. Last but not least, there's a backsheet that serves as yet another protective barrier for the panel.

While each of the components used here is durable and meant to stand up to some significant wear-and-tear, this is not the same as these panels simply being invincible or impervious to damage. Our next several sections will dig further into this theme.

Can They Break?

Technically speaking, the answer here is yes -- with enough force and pressure, a solar panel can break. However, it's important to keep in mind that the vast majority of damage seen with solar panels is due to human error or lack of maintenance.

For example, perhaps someone steps on their panel or hits it with a baseball bat by accident. Or maybe there has been some dirt build-up over time, which can also make a panel put more load on its frame and cause it to snap.

In these cases, you might notice some damage or even cracks in the surface of your panels' protective layers. These issues can often be fixed simply by cleaning off the dirt and debris, or replacing any broken glass layers. Solar panels are also very resistant to wear-and-tear in general and can indeed stand up to extreme weather conditions as well as other factors like snowfall, hail impacts and more.

Furthermore, it's extremely rare for such breakage to occur based on natural wear-and-tear from normal use. Therefore, as long as you are regularly cleaning or replacing any damaged components of your solar panels and not engaging in intentionally harmful behavior with them, then you can feel confident that their durability will stand up over time.

Issues of Falling Debris

Another concern some people have is that falling debris from trees, for example, can damage their solar panels. This is a valid concern and one worthy of monitoring over time. However, generally speaking, the risk here isn't as high as you might think.

First of all, it's important to understand that solar panels are designed to be installed in such a way that any debris that might fall on them won't do much damage. In fact, their frames are typically very strong and can easily stand up to such impacts in even the most extreme cases.

Furthermore, solar panels are often intentionally installed far away from where tall or heavy trees typically reside, as this can help to minimize the risk of such issues even further. Of course, it's still a good idea to keep an eye out for any potential damage, and if you encounter anything that looks like it could be problematic, then you should reach out to your solar service provider or other local authority for advice on how to proceed.

Water Damage

When your solar panel system is first installed, it's done so with a number of specific seals and other measures to help it withstand water damage. These are extremely effective in most cases, preventing any kind of damage from large amounts of water flow, hail storms and more.

However, as with any other piece of equipment or product, there is still the possibility that these seals could wear down or become damaged over time. For instance, a heavy impact on a specific water seal area might cause it to shift or possibly even fail. As such, you may want to regularly check your solar panel system for any signs of water infiltration and get this fixed quickly if necessary.

Overall, solar panels are extremely durable under a wide range of circumstances, especially those that are beyond human control or influence. Therefore, as long as they receive regular care, maintenance and inspections, then you can be confident in their ability to hold up over time no matter what weather the outside world throws at them.

For more on this, or to learn about any of our residential or commercial solar power solutions, speak to our dedicated team at Intermountain Wind & Solar today.

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