Solar panels are one of the purest ways we can utilize a natural resource in a simple way and without causing any harm. And since they give us free energy whenever and wherever we desire, we will most definitely panic when they fail. Can a broken solar panel be fixed? Does a solar panel generate energy even if it’s broken? In this article, we will review the causes of why a solar panel isn’t working to its maximum potential or even generating energy at all and the possible solutions.
What To Do If Your Solar Panels Stops Working?
So, your solar panels are suddenly generating less electricity or, even worse, stopped working. If this is the case, you must determine why that is and the possible solution, if there is any.
Suppose you’ve determined that neither the appliance connected to the portable solar panel if off-grid nor a grid system malfunction if connected to shore power are the problem. Then, your problem might be either your solar panels or whatever is connected to them, for example, a cable or an inverter.
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Possible Reasons Why a Solar Panel Might Not Work
Solar panels are designed with intricate electrical components and circuits. Moreover, they’re also exposed to outside environments and mishaps that sometimes aren’t under our control. Let’s go over why your solar panel might have stopped working.
As solar panels are continuously exposed to the outside, they will most definitely fall victim to whatever the weather brings. This could be dust, dirt, debris, leaves, etc., and it’s no surprise that if these obstruct the solar panel, it won’t allow enough sunlight to go through. If the solar panel isn’t receiving enough sunlight, it won’t generate any current and, therefore, no electricity.
Since solar panels are created with high-tech materials and designed to withstand high solar temperatures and corrosion, occasionally cleaning them with a damp washcloth is acceptable. Therefore, one of the first steps in determining why your solar panel’s efficiency has dropped would be to check if there are any obstructing leaves, dust, or anything that wind can leave along its path.
Most solar panels are waterproof, with an average ingress protection (IP) rating ranging from IP65 to IP68. Even though all PV panels are water resistant, some are more than others. The higher the number, the more resistant to water it will be. We suggest you acquire a solar panel with an IP68. This way, you will be sure that water is not to blame if your solar panel stops working.
Solar panels are connected to inverters and other solar systems through cables. Although a cable malfunction isn’t as common, it could be a straightforward reason your solar panels aren’t generating energy. And as simple as it is to determine if they’re the culprit, it is also easy to solve.
A cable malfunction can occur due to various reasons:
- Mechanical failure
- Overheating of the cable
- Moisture in the cable
- Electrical overloading
- ● Rodent interference
Cables meant for solar energy applications are supposed to be capable of enduring high temperatures and outside weather. However, the cable you bought may be defective.
Besides a cable malfunction, another reason could be that the cable is not connected correctly or that you’ve mistakenly bought the wrong type of cable for your solar array. Nonetheless, these occurrences are easily and quickly solvable.
A broken solar panel is an unusual thing to happen. As mentioned before, solar panels are built with durable materials. Nevertheless, they’re susceptible to accidental falls and getting hit by objects, such as a tree branch or a rock. The chances are low, but it might be the case that this happened and you didn’t notice or weren’t home.
The unfortunate occurrence that your solar panel is broken due to this happening will require you to acquire a new solar system. Once PV panels are damaged, they cannot be repaired, but we will discuss this topic further on.
Inverters have the crucial function of converting solar energy, which solar panels absorb as direct current, into alternating current. If the inverter doesn’t work, then it is impossible for there to be a conversion of direct current to alternating current at all.
Unfortunately, inverters are less durable than solar panels. If it is the case that your inverter doesn’t work, then you will need to buy a new one. Therefore, purchasing an inverter with an outstanding reputation and from a recognized brand is recommended.
If you’ve explored the various reasons why your solar panel isn’t functioning, and none seem to be it, the main reason could be a faulty system.
In general, solar panels are carefully manufactured and installed. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean we are safe from a flawed system. A solar panel can be faulty due to a misconnection within its system during its manufacturing process or because of poor installation.
Can a Broken Solar Panel Be Fixed?
Unfortunately, broken solar panels cannot be fixed. They are intricately designed, and their components are so delicate that their functioning and performance can be easily impaired with a single fall or crack.
The good news is that a broken solar panel will still generate energy, but it will do so at a lesser rate until it eventually stops working overall. Another essential aspect to mention is that since the top glass is most likely broken, the cells will be exposed to the outside elements. If the cells are in contact with the outdoor environment, they will gradually damage the cell until they can no longer function at all.
It’s Time to Buy a New Solar Panel
If your solar panel has a crack or has evidently reduced its usual electricity production, we recommend buying a new one instead. Doing so is the only way to get optimum energy production from your solar panel and continue benefitting from solar energy at its fullest again. A new solar panel will make the most out of every sunray much more than a broken one.
Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, I am also passionate about renewable energy applications and innovations. Full-time writer for Solar Home Stead, where I review and share my opinion on energy products and trends.