How to Repair a Broken Solar Panel

Your Complete Guide to Solar Panel Repair

When it comes to solar panel repair, many fear that there’s no easy solution. How long will it take? Will the cost burn a hole in your bank account? 

Here’s the truth: solar panel repair could cost you nothing. Investing in a professional and transparent solar panel installation company will save you in the case that you have a broken solar panel.

Solar Panel Repair: The Basics 

Research done by the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that over time, the failure rate for photovoltaic (PV) solar panels have fallen drastically in comparison to installations done in the 90s. They also collected data in the United States on the cause of the failure of a solar panel from reports on 4,500 globally deployed panels and another 50,000 installed systems.

Degradation & The Lifespan of Solar Panels

(Source: Paradise Energy Solutions)

Solar panel glass covers the system’s surface. It serves as the primary protector against harsh weather elements or any other external danger. Occasionally, however, this glass may break and need repair.

It is also possible to have broken solar panel pieces. This shouldn’t be a cause for alarm, though. The panel can be restored to full functionality. Solar panel glass can typically withstand reasonable stresses like hailstones, tree branches, and dust particles.

When solar panel glass does break, the system will not absorb light as efficiently. Foreign elements such as water and dust can travel underneath the glass and impact the energy both absorbed and produced.

Knowing the basics of solar panel repair is paramount for every homeowner. When buying a solar panel, do not focus only on getting a quality solar panel. Also learn the repair process so that you can attempt fixing your system yourself in case of damages.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into specifics. Today, we’re going to cover: 

  • What happens if a solar panel breaks?
  • Can a broken solar panel be fixed?
  • Will solar panels work with broken glass?
  • How to repair solar panel broken glass
  • Are broken solar panels dangerous?
  • Replacing damaged solar panels
  • How much does it cost to repair a solar panel?

What happens if a solar panel breaks?

Most Orange County homeowners focus on investing in quality, sustainable panels. However, don’t forget that solar panels face external forces that could damage them.

When a solar panel breaks or cracks, it can still produce high voltage. On the other hand, a broken panel can suddenly stop working when exposed to harmful elements. In the event of any damage, fix the solar panel as soon as you notice broken pieces.

Most Common Types of Solar Panel Damage

Common Types of Solar Panel Damage

(Source: ScienceDirect)

If you want to save on repair costs, learning how to perform basic maintenance on your system can generate immense savings.

Can a broken solar panel be repaired?

Various challenges may compromise the functionality of solar panels. For example, harsh weather may cause damage that lowers the amount of energy produced.

A solar panel has a lifespan of over 25 years. However, you will still likely experience occasional minor issues. When these occur, your solar panel can be repaired by following repair best practices. 

The most effective method for keeping solar panels in optimal condition is through proper maintenance. First, ensure the solar panel glass is free from any debris that could cause harm to the system. 

Second, while cleaning the panels, make sure you use warm water. The solar panel is already warm due to exposure to sunlight. Using warm water will also prove more effective in clearing dirt and dust. Solar panels are more prone to break if you rinse them with cold water. This is due to the stark contrasting temperatures between the water and the glass. 

Will solar panels work with broken glass?

Are you worried about the efficiency of your solar panel after glass breakage?

If your area experiences storms, there is a high chance that your solar panel will get damaged by falling trees and branches. If hit by falling debris, the panel’s glass can shatter. 

The glass cover and its adhesive protect the solar cells from damage. If the solar panel glass only partially breaks, it can still absorb suitable energy from the sun. Panels can also be waterproofed to protect against further risk. 

Conversely, if the glass suffers a large break, you will have to replace the whole panel face. To best do this, you should call a local professional solar panel installer. They can assist in assessing damages and determining the repair necessities.

Lightning can cause severe, often irreparable solar panel damage. To avoid this, install your solar panel away from tall trees if your area experiences intense lightning.

If your solar panel suffers from lightning damage, call your solar provider and installer because it is difficult to fix a solar panel damaged by lightning. It may require a full panel or system replacement. 

Effects of micro-cracks on solar panels

Due to the natural, mechanical and chemical exposure, solar panels are prone to developing invisible cracks. However, you should not worry if you have a solar installation warranty covering damages caused by micro-cracks. You will get it fixed as soon as you alert your provider.

How to repair a solar panel broken glass (Step by Step DIY Hack)

When you notice a solar panel breakage, you should call your solar panel installation company as soon as possible so they can repair the damage. If ignored, the extent of the damage can worsen. 

However, if you want to start by troubleshooting the solar panel problems yourself, here are a few quick tips. 

The Problem

A solar panel with broken glass could still work fine. However, getting it fixed will help you curb two challenges:

One, it will prevent moisture from entering and affecting the solar cells.

Two, the glass surface will not damage any further.

Most solar owners in Orange County have some DIY hacks, such as covering the surface with polyurethane. However, this peels off after some time, and replacing the cracked glass with new glass can prove expensive. 

So, what is the ideal option?

The Solution

A transparent laminating film has proven to work well on the solar panel surface. The goal is to make sure the solar panel can absorb direct heat from the sunlight. The laminating film is popular for use in laminating cars for paint protection.

Installing a laminating film is not terribly complex. Just use a hit gun to stick the film on the edges of the glass. 

The Outcome

After following the above procedure, you will adequately fix the broken solar panel glass and the issue will be resolved appropriately. There will be no chance of the glass falling off.

In addition, you should make sure that your solar panel provider has assessed the situation. They will guide you on a sustainable solution to avoid future damages.

Should you put off solar panel repair? 

Broken solar panel glass is not a reason to panic because there is a solution. However, behind the solar panel glass, there are raw materials that are delicate and need special care. Addressing cracked glass is key to maintaining the efficiency of the solar panel.

The toxic materials include elements with lead, cadmium, silicon, and arsenic. In addition, if left unattended, the cracked glass could result in toxins leaking through to the solar cells.

When you notice broken solar panel pieces, we recommend contacting a local professional solar panel company. Their team of professionals can handle the toxic components safely and swiftly. Otherwise, they could seep into the ground and cause long-term hazards. After the safe removal of harmful elements, they are packaged for proper disposal.

Replacing damaged solar panels

By now, you have the knowledge of what could cause damage to your solar panels. However, broken glass is not the only warning sign to look out for. 

One of these is the solar inverter, which has a shorter life span. It will need to be replaced sooner than a panel. However, if you have a warranty from the solar panel installation company, this will cover the replacement of the inverter.

Do not replace the inverter without the help of a professional. The solar panel provider will make sure the interface on the new inverter is configured the same as the previous one. In addition, the experts must note the counter readings before replacement.

How much does it cost to repair a solar panel?

In the U.S, solar panel repair could cost you as low as $100 and as high as $3,000. The most common repair issues are cracked solar panels, broken glass, and loose connections due to poor installation. Note that the solar installation provider should handle the repair and replacement of a fractured solar panel.

That is why you should carefully choose your solar panel installation company. Also, ensure there are long-term benefits that come along with the installation. Finally, read about the mistakes that most homeowners make while buying a solar panel.

Even if the replacement of the solar power inverter will take place at your own expense, a solar company should give you a refund.

It’s All About Efficiency 

You cannot underestimate how important efficiency is to maintaining a healthy home solar system. Regular inspection and maintenance can proactively address concerns and ensure a longer lifespan for your investment. 

Let’s recap some of the basics that we covered above: 

  • Avoiding installing your panel near large trees. Falling branches could break the glass.
  • Broken seals can also cause panel damage by inviting in water or dust. Be sure to check your seals frequently to ensure they are working as intended. 

It is also important to look out for internal corrosion. When these materials degrade, the system will not perform as intended. 

Get Solar Panel Repair in Orange County, CA 

Enlightened Solar is the leading solar installation company in Orange County, CA. We’ve proudly built our business on premium services, individualized customer care, and an excellent warranty.  

Whenever you experience a broken solar panel at your home, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of trained professionals can arrive, inspect, and offer a solution that will improve your system’s efficiency and lifespan. 

Contact us today for a quote, and let’s start working together.