What can ruin solar panels?



3 Common Ways Solar Panels Can Be Damaged

Solar panels are an increasingly popular means of energy generation, as the technology has become more affordable and more widely accessible in recent years. Solar cells, or photovoltaic cells, are found inside solar panels, where they capture light energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. While solar panels offer multiple advantages, they must also be appropriately maintained and cared for in order to maximize energy yield and minimize damage. The following article will outline three of the most common ways in which solar panels can be damaged, as well as what can be done to reduce damage and protect solar panels.

Twigs, Leaves and Debris

Debris such as twigs, leaves and dirt can easily scratch or damage solar panel surfaces, reducing the amount of energy generated. The composition of the solar cells, which contain glass, aluminum and silicon, make them particularly prone to scratching and damage. Furthermore, debris can also prevent panels from receiving necessary sunlight, further reducing the amount of energy generated. In addition, the scratching of solar panel surfaces can become unsightly, negatively impacting the aesthetic value of the panels.

In order to protect solar panels from twigs, leaves and dirt, regular cleaning is recommended. It is best to employ the use of safe, non-abrasive cleaning agents to remove dirt, dust and debris from solar panel surfaces. For example, an “Acrylic Cleaner” from SUNPOWER is designed to gently clean solar panel surfaces without damaging the cells themselves. In addition, regular inspections should be done to check for and remove any debris which may have accumulated on the panels.

Hail Storms

Hail storms can be damaging to all roofs, including those with solar panels. Hail is particularly damaging to solar panel surfaces as the hard and heavy stones can easily crack and damage the glass on the panels, reducing the amount of energy generated. In addition, hail can cause damage to the electrical wiring and internal components, further reducing the performance of the panels.

Techniques to protect solar panels from hail storms include installing a “hail shield” or “solar panel protector” on the rooftop. A hail shield is an aluminum or metal guard which is designed to protect the rooftop and solar panels from hail. Silicon4Energy offers a range of hail shields which can be attached to many common frames. In addition, the use of sturdy frames can provide some additional protection from hail, as the sturdiness of the frames will absorb more of the impact from the hail stones.

Water Damage

Solar panels are sealed just like most windows, allowing them to be exposed to the natural elements without being damaged by water. However, water can still infiltrate the panels and cause significant damage over time. There are several types of water damage which can occur to solar panels, such as corrosion, oxidation, and thermal expansion. These issues can reduce the performance of the panels and even lead to a complete failure of the system.

In order to protect solar panels from water damage, it is important to ensure that panels are sealed properly and checked regularly for signs of water infiltration. Additionally, the use of a waterproofing agent can help protect the panels against water damage. Solar Shield M-Coating from GRDF is one such product which is specially designed to seal and protect solar panel surfaces from water infiltration. It can also help to reduce the amount of dirt and debris which can accumulate on panel surfaces.


It is important for owners of solar panels to be aware of the threats of common elements which can damage the solar panel surfaces, such as debris, hail and water. Taking the necessary steps to reduce the potential damage of these elements can maximize the performance of a solar panel system and ensure that it operates efficiently over a long period of time. As such, it is important to be aware of ways in which solar panels can be protected from damage.

To answer the question posed, some of the most common ways solar panels can be damaged include twigs, leaves and dirt, hail storms, and water infiltration. Taking the necessary protective steps for each of these threats can increase the performance and longevity of solar panels.

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