Your roofs solar panels are a cost-efficient, sustainable method of producing electricity for your home. Aside from saving, or even making money over the long term, one of the main reasons that householders have them installed is their reputation for being very low maintenance. However, solar panels can, and do occasionally go wrong. When this happens, your electricity production can be affected. Fixing these problems yourself may seem like a good idea, but is that always the case?
The Most Common Problem with Solar Panels
One of the most common problems is with the glass panels themselves. It is also one problem that householders often try to fix on their own. Problems with the glass on solar panels usually occur when they are struck by falling objects, or subjected to extreme stress during storms. Either of these occurrences can cause solar panels to crack or break.
What Happens When a Panel is Broken?
A broken solar panel on your roof will firstly affect the amount of energy that is produced by your array. One small panel may not make that much difference, but if it is not fixed, the problems will inevitably worsen. Left broken or cracked, a glass panel will allow moisture to enter into the array. In addition to potentially weakening the surrounding panels, this could lead to corrosion of the wiring. In turn, this could lead to a short in the entire system, and numerous associated problems.
Fixing Solar Panels – Should You Try?
It is possible to replace or repair the broken panel yourself, and there is a number of ways this can be achieved. However, if you have little or no experience in solar panels, your quick fix could result in further, even catastrophic problems. Here are a couple of fix attempts and the issues they can create.
Using Auto Glass Windshield Resin
Where the panel has cracked, particularly if there is just a small crack, many homeowners try to make a quick repair using the same resin as is used in windshield repairs. In theory, the resin can seal the crack and stop further cracking and moisture from entering the array. However, when windshields are repaired using this resin the repair is made under pressure using specific equipment. It is almost impossible to get the appropriate amount of pressure on the tempered glass of the solar panel array. This means that even if you can make the repair, it is highly likely to be a very temporary fix. As the fix degrades, moisture will enter the array, and any further strikes to the panel could cause further damage.
Cut to Size Additional Glass
Another option used by homeowners involves placing a new piece of glass on top of the cracked pane. The replacement glass is cut to size and sealed in place with silicon sealant. One of the problems with this is that both the tempered glass and the sealant required are expensive. Doing this repair yourself could actually cost you more than hiring a professional. Additionally, placing one piece of glass on top of another will cause light refraction. This has the risk of lowering the power output of your array. In the long run, this will cost you even more money.
The problems with these quick fixes . The easiest way to do this is to hire a professional as soon as you notice the problem. A professional will be able to check for water damage and ensure that any remaining moisture before making the fix, making it a much more cost effective, and safer, option in the long term.