As you would know, solar panels are a great way to generate electricity for home quite easily without needing a lot of space. These simply convert sunlight to generate free electricity while being highly environmentally friendly. However, to get the most efficiency out of your solar panels, they need to be placed under direct sunlight. Due to this, all solar panels are installed on roofs or backyards and not indoors next to windows.
While installing solar panels on the exterior of your home is certainly recommended for the best efficiency, this does lead to other challenges. To be more specific, your solar panels are going to face a lot of environmental forces when installed outdoors. For example, your solar panel will need to withstand both rain and snow. If any water from rain or snow gets inside your solar panels, it is definitely going to damage them. Hence, before installing solar panels, make sure to go through this guide to learn more about whether solar panels are waterproof or not.
- Do Solar Panels offer Waterproof Construction?
- What do Different IP Ratings Denote for Water Resistance?
- Where can a Solar Panel get Water Damage Issues?
- How to Pick the Best Solar Panel for Waterproof Protection?
- How to Protect Your Solar Panels from Water Damage?
Do Solar Panels offer Waterproof Construction?
Starting off with the most important factor, we first need to check whether solar panels offer waterproof construction or not. Thankfully, since solar panels are designed to be installed outdoors, almost all of them offer some sort of waterproof construction.
Some of them even come with a waterproof or water resistance rating as you will see down below. That being said, do keep in mind that all solar panels offer more of a water resistant construction and not a waterproof one since you cannot submerge them in water.
What do Different IP Ratings Denote for Water Resistance?
Even though almost all solar panels available out there offer some sort of water resistance construction, not all of them are going to be the same in terms of protection against water damage.
And to differentiate between the amount of protection they offer for water ingress, most solar panels will have an IP rating given along with them. In fact, this is the same water resistance IP rating that comes included with modern smartphones these days. Some of the common IP ratings that you can find with solar panels include:
1. IP65 Water Resistant Solar Panels
Starting with the most basic water resistance rating, an IP65 solar panel can withstand a water jet from a nozzle of 6.3 mm diameter which is spraying 12.5 liters of water per minute for a total of 15 minutes at a pressure 30kPa from a distance of 3 meters. In short, this kind of water resistance is more than enough for rains, snows, and low-pressure water jets.
2. IP66 Water Resistant Solar Panels
Moving to the next water resistance rating, while IP66 solar panels are not very common, they are certainly versatile. These IP65 solar panels can withstand a water jet of 12.5 mm diameter which is spraying 100 liters per minute for a total of 3 minutes at a pressure of 100 kPa from a distance of 3 meters. Such solar panels can withstand water ingress from all directions without any issues.
3. IP67 Water Resistant Solar Panels
If you’re going with a high end solar panel, then it is most likely going to offer an IP67 water resistance rating. Such solar panels are highly secure since they can even be submerged in 15 to 100 cms of water for up to 30 minutes. To be more exact, if your solar panel’s top portion is 15 cm under water and the bottom is 100 cm under water, then it lasts for up to 30 minutes.
4. IP68 Water Resistant Solar Panels
Last but not least, some solar panels may even come with an IP68 water resistant rating. When compared to the IP67 water resistance rating, this one can go even deeper than 1 meters. As for how deep, that varies from solar panel to solar panel and is listed by the manufacturer.
Where can a Solar Panel get Water Damage Issues?
Now that you know the different kinds of water resistance ratings offered by different solar panels, you may be wondering about the importance of the same. In that case, you should check out these possible areas where your solar panel can most likely get water damage issues:
1. Backsheet Water Damage
All solar panels have a polyester backsheet which is present on the back. It is present there to stop water from seeping in. However, if you’re using an entry level solar panel, then it may have poor installation for its solar panel. In that case, water can seep inside your solar panel from the backsheet.
2. Junction Box Water Damage
When you’ve installed multiple solar panels on your roof, then all of them are going to be connected to a single junction box. This junction box is made to collect all the power being produced by the solar panels. Although, despite having a sealant around it for stopping water ingress, poor application of this sealant can result in water damage.
3. Connector Water Damage
Unlike everything else which is present on the inside, the connectors of your solar panels are on the exterior. And the female part of these connectors are the perfect place for dust and water to collect and damage things.
How to Pick the Best Solar Panel for Waterproof Protection?
Apart from checking the IP rating of your solar panels, you should also check the type of solar panels that you’re going for since that can also affect the water protection a given solar panel has. Out of all the various options out there, monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels are most likely to be damaged from water ingress. On the other hand, thin film solar panels are much safer.
This is due to the reason that while crystalline solar panels have multiple layers with a seal around it, thin film solar panels have a single layer. As a result water cannot get inside this single layer easily. Comparatively, the sealant between the multiple layers of your crystalline solar panels can easily leak causing water damage.
However, when it comes to the efficiency of your solar panels, crystalline solar panels are definitely better. Hence, you should always check the IP rating of your solar panels. You can even consider going with glass on glass solar panels which replace the backsheet with a glass panel which offers better protection.
How to Protect Your Solar Panels from Water Damage?
Even if your solar panels offer an IP rating for water resistance, you should still protect your solar panels from water damage as much as possible. Hence, you can try out the following methods to protect your solar panels from water damage:
1. Applying Aquarium Sealant
Since aquariums are built to hold a large amount of water without leaking at all, using an aquarium sealant can be a great idea. You can use it for protecting the connectors and junction box of your solar panels and preventing water damage. And if you feel that water can seep inside your solar panels from a particular point, then you can also apply it there.
2. Installing Solar Panels under a Transparent Patio
While the efficiency of your solar panel will be definitely affected by this, it will ensure that they do not get damaged from rain or snow. A transparent patio will offer enough space for multiple solar panels while offering at least some amount of sunlight for them.
3. Using a Tarp
In case it has been raining in your areas for multiple days, then your solar panels won’t be creating a lot of electricity anyways. Thus, for such cases you should cover them with a tarp temporarily to prevent water damage completely.
While solar panels definitely need much less maintenance when compared with something like a windmill, you still need to protect them from environmental factors. To be more specific, protecting your solar panels against rain and snow is quite important. For the same, we have shared a complete guide on are solar panels waterproof or not up above. You can also find information related to types of solar panel water resistance, ways your solar panels can get water ingress, and more importantly, how to prevent any water damage to your solar panels. If any of this information about solar panels was helpful to you, consider leaving your thoughts or questions in the comments section down below.