Solar panels spend their lifetime of more than 30 years outside in the elements. Almost always, rooftop or ground-mounted solar array will have panels exposed to rainy, wet weather, meaning panels need to be waterproof in order to keep producing power for many years.
Don’t worry – your solar panels are waterproof
Because solar panels are exposed to the elements for several decades, they need to be constructed so that they are as resistant to water damage as possible. All home solar panels are waterproof, and in the rare case that they are damaged by water, you are usually protected by warranties from the panel manufacturer.
Solar panels generate energy with their solar cells. The electricity is captured by wiring within the solar panel. Above all else, the wiring and other electronics within solar panels are where water could do the most damage. This is why solar panels are constructed in a way that protects these more sensitive components.
There are several components used when building solar panels that make them waterproof. In most cases, solar panels are covered in a thin glass sheet on the front and protected by a sheet on the back. The backsheet is usually made from a durable, polymer-based material. These two layers, combined with a metal frame and specialized sealant glue, make solar panels waterproof and prevent water from accessing the cells and wiring inside.
Solar panels warranties protect from rare cases of water damage
In some rare cases, solar panels have defects in their construction, and they may not be entirely waterproof. Luckily, most solar panel manufacturers offer two different warranties to protect your solar panel investment: an equipment warranty and a production warranty.
A solar panel equipment warranty protects against problems associated with the quality of the physical solar panel. Manufacturing defects, environmental issues, and premature wear and tear are all examples of what would be covered under an equipment warranty. In the rare case that your solar panels are not waterproof and water damages a panel in your system, your equipment warranty will protect you. In some cases, your solar panel manufacturer will not only pay for a new panel, but they will also cover its shipment and re-installation. Most equipment warranties last 10-12 years.
A solar panel’s production warranty protects against underperforming solar panels. Like other electronics, a solar panel degrades over time and the amount of energy it generates slowly decreases. Production warranties usually guarantee 90% production at 10 years or around 80% production at 25 years. This means that after 10 years, your solar panels should be producing at least 90% of the power they produced when they were first installed (or 80% of their initial production after 25 years). A non-waterproof solar panel may get flooded with water, causing less sunlight to reach the solar cells, or even breaking individual cells. If this happens to your panels, they will likely not produce the amount of power needed to fulfill their production warranty promise, and your solar panel manufacturer will replace the water damaged panel.
Beyond being waterproof, solar panels stand up to most weather conditions
Solar panels aren’t just waterproof – they stand up to most weather-related stress as well. For property owners in cold climates, there’s no need to worry about snow. Solar panels can hold significant weight without collapsing, and colder weather even boosts production for photovoltaic cells. Even extreme events like hurricanes and hail storms usually don’t affect solar panels significantly – proper racking systems prevent strong winds from inflicting damage, and the durable glass covering on most panels holds up under most hail storms.
The best way to get quotes for high-quality solar installations is on EnergySage
Regardless of the weather where you live, solar panels can be a great investment for property owners. Solar panels are built to withstand rain, snow, and most of what nature has to throw at them. By signing up to receive quotes on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, local solar companies can submit bids for your business. If you are interested in solar panels with the best warranty terms, simply leave a note in your profile for prospective installers to see.