When buying anything that is outside 100% of the time, you are probably going to find yourself asking this question, “are they waterproof?”. With something electronic, like a solar panel, you want to be certain it is not going to break when it gets rained on.
Luckily, solar panels are designed to spend up to 30 years outdoors and are protected by many waterproofing measures. This includes a special sealant and a glass casing that prevents water from damaging the solar cells inside.
In this article, we are going to answer that question and any others you might have. Overall, we found that you do not need to be stressed out about your solar panels being damaged by water.
How Long Are They Waterproof For?
Any solar panel that you purchase for your home is going to be waterproof. If they are somehow damaged by water, your manufacturer might even have it covered with a warranty.
However, a solid solar panel needs to be outside for years, meaning that the waterproofing systems need to last a long time. You can expect a quality solar panel to be waterproof for at least 10 years, some are protected even longer than that.
That being said, there are ways to increase the life of your panel and help it resist water damage.
How to Reinforce Solar Panel Waterproofing
There are many ways to protect your solar panel against water damage that depends on how your roof is pitched. Your installer will do this when they set it up, by adjusting the slant of the panel. Experts will know how to install the panel with flashing methods to ensure that the panel is safe and will not harm the construction of your roof.
You can further reinforce the water resistance by raising the waterproof seal. This is the barrier that keeps rain from getting into flashing and damaging the panel. When you elevate it further, you lower the risks of water damages.
You might even be thinking, “Can they be submerged?”. Well, as long it is a high-quality panel, you technically can. The cells are protected by glass, an aluminum frame, and a back panel. This back panel is vacuum-sealed so that water can not get inside.
Do They Last Longer If They’re Not Rained On All The Time?
Solar panels are designed to be rained on for decades – they need to be able to weather all kinds of elements to be effective. They are built from waterproof materials and use a sealant that protects their cells and wiring, so you do not need to worry.
Water damage on a solar panel is very rare, but it usually only occurs when the panel has a defect. In those cases, your purchase is likely covered by a warranty so that you can get it replaced. Plus, many equipment warranties last at least 10 years.
What’s Their Waterproof Rating?
An IP rating can be used to indicate what level of protection an object has against the natural elements – including water. A high-quality solar panel will likely have an IP67 or IP68 rating, while some others might have a lesser rating of IP65. What does this mean?
IP stands for “ingress protection”. The numbers after that show exactly what the solar panel is protected against. For example, a solar panel with an IP65 rating will be protected from dust and can withstand water being sprayed at a low pressure – still perfect for rainfall.
A solar panel with IP67 is further protected against dust and moisture. Even after being submerged in water temporarily, the panel will still work properly afterward.
What To Do In Case Of Water Damage
While your panel being damaged by water is extremely rare, it might happen if it was not properly sealed at the manufacturer. However, you can be sure that your investment in clean energy is protected.
Most solar panel’s production warranties protect you if the panel is not performing correctly. This can happen as the cells wear out over the years and you notice the panels producing less power.
After 10 years, your panel might be producing 90% of what it did when you first had it installed – this is normal. These warranties cover a production promise and will likely replace your solar panels if they can not meet the minimum requirement.
In short, your solar panel is going to have at least some protection against water damage. Manufacturers understand that their product is going to be out in the elements for many years and design them accordingly.
On the off chance that your panel does take in water, then you can review the warranties that came with it. In most cases, there are protections in place so that you can replace the damaged panels easily.