A solar panel is made of sensitive semiconductive material encased in glass. The impact from a fast-moving object can damage the glass cover of a solar panel and compromise the protective covering.
But will it break from a golf ball hit? Solar Panels are supposed to withstand a hit from a golf ball as they are put under a battery of tests before they leave the factory. These tests simulate conditions like rain, hail, and heat to see how the solar panel will hold up. But there is a difference between lab conditions and real-world conditions.
Also, check out a closer look at “Can Solar Panels Withstand Hail? How To Protect Yours!“
How does a solar panel perform in real-world conditions? Today, we will investigate just how durable a solar panel is. For example, what damage can objects like tree branches, loose masonry or even a stray golf ball do?
On a side note! If you’re in need of a reliable and high-performance portable solar panel, We strongly recommend the Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel (Amazon Link).
With a high conversion efficiency and foldable design, this solar panel is easy to transport and set up, making it perfect for outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and RV trips.
The US solar cell technology used in this panel ensures that you get the most efficient and reliable solar charging possible.
If you have ever wondered how strong a solar panel is then this article will answer some of those questions. Keep reading to find out what can damage your solar panels and what you can do to protect them.
Can Tesla Solar Panels Withstand Golf Balls?
A solar panel can suffer critical damage if struck with enough force from a heavy or fast-moving projectile such as a tree branch, stonework or a golf ball. While solar panels are engineered to withstand high impact, they are not, however, invulnerable.
Tesla solar panels are manufactured and engineered similarly to all other solar panels on the market. In fact, Tesla does not manufacture its branded solar panels. Rather the manufacturing of the solar cells is subcontracted to third parties. With that being said how strong are solar panels?
The solar cells in a solar panel are delicate slices of semiconductive silicon wafers. They are extremely sensitive to heat, light and moisture. Raw and exposed to the elements they would not last long before they started to degrade. Fortunately, solar panel design takes this into consideration.
A solar cell is covered by a six-inch-thick layer of tempered glass. Six times stronger than your ordinary glass window, this glass protects the delicate cells inside from the impact of hail and falling debris. The glass in the front and back sheet behind is held together by an aluminum frame. The whole construction is sealed tight with silicone to make the solar panel waterproof. Source
How Easy Is It To Break Solar Panels?
Solar panels are remarkably durable pieces of equipment. They do not break or shatter easily. They are tested for the force impact of hail stones and wind force speeds of up to x miles per hour. They can also withstand a weight of up to 50 pounds of pressure per square foot.
A solar panel is warrantied for 25 years. The construction of a solar panel is relatively strong considering the conditions under which it will operate. The glass is what makes a solar panel particularly strong.
Taking up more than 90% of its weight, the tempered glass in a solar panel keeps the solar cells protected and makes the panel hard to break. The metal frame reinforces the panel and makes the structure rigid. Flexible solar panels are more bendable since they are made from plastic material.
While they experience substantial wear and tear, solar panels hold up impressively considering the conditions they are used in. There are solar panels that have been operating for more than 30 years and they still work fine.
This is by no means to suggest that solar panels are indestructible. There are a few things that can critically damage a solar panel. What should you be on the lookout for?
What Can Destroy A Solar Panel?
The factors that most frequently lead to solar panel damage are shading, weather-related, negligence, and degradation. Shading is the leading cause of solar panel damage.
How do each of these factors affect a solar panel and what can you do to protect your panels?
Shading is when shadows from a tree or building or even from a cable fall across a solar panel. Shading does not even need to be complete. Even partial shading of a solar panel can have a detrimental effect.
Shading creates a short circuit in the solar panel. This will lead to heat build-up that will eventually damage the cells in the solar panel. In most instances, shading is from overgrown trees. Always keep the trees around your solar array trimmed to prevent this from happening.
Weather related damage
Solar panels are exposed to extreme weather elements. In a single day a solar panel can go from intense heat to bitterly cold. The large swings in temperature can crack the glass cover that protects the solar cells.
Heat in itself has an adverse effect on solar panels. The higher the temperature in a solar panel, the less energy it will produce. Any moisture or humidity that leaks into a solar panel can also damage the solar cells.
To prevent moisture damage, inspect the sealant on the solar panels once every six months to insure it’s still intact. Replace any worn sealant with silicone.
Solar panel degradation
Solar panel degradation is the unavoidable wear and tear of the solar cells due to their exposure to light. It might sound strange but apart from providing a solar panel with energy, sunlight also gradually reduces its efficiency.
Fortunately, solar panel degradation happens at a negligibly small rate. A solar panel loses less than 0.8% efficiency per year. This means that even after 25 years a solar panel will still produce up to 80% of its potential output. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to prevent degradation.
Dirt has an overlooked but potentially harmful effect on solar panels especially if its excessive. For the most part, dirt in the form of dust, bird droppings or leaves will merely reduce the output of a solar panel. This can be by as much as 6%. This is why it is important to inspect and clean solar panels at least once a year. Source
Can A Shattered Solar Panel Still Work?
A solar panel with a broken glass cover can still produce energy if the solar cells are still intact. If some or all the solar cells are damaged then the solar panel will either produce less energy or none at all.
If it is only the glass that is damaged a highly likely scenario is that the solar cells will absorb less light because of the damaged glass. Moisture can also leak in. Fortunately, solar panels with damaged glass can be refurbished if the cells are still intact.