Solar panels are innovative sources of power or energy in the home and even commercial establishments, and generally require minimal maintenance. All you need to do is wash or clean the dirt and dust off your solar panels at least twice a year using a garden hose.
Because solar panels are very durable, their life expectancy is around 25 to 30 years without maintenance. But how do you know if your solar panels need repair?
Cracks on Solar Module
Hot spots on the solar panels may cause the modules to crack because of dissipated heat. Hot spots on solar panels are due to connections that are badly soldered, or structural defects found in the solar cells.
Here are the effects of hot spots on solar panels:
- The part of the solar panel that receives generated power experiences low resistance because of badly-soldered connections.
- The voltage rises, causing a hotspot in the cell or solder that causes a short-circuit.
- It reduces the lifespan and performance of the solar panel. That’s why you need to contact solar repairs Adelaide when this happens.
Solar panel repair specialists usually encounter small cracks in the PV panels, which are microscopic tears that are virtually undetectable in the solar cells. Small cracks can occur during the production of PV modules, careless handling during installation, or during shipping.
Here are the possible results of small cracks or micro-cracks on solar panels:
- While micro-cracks don’t necessarily cause instant energy loss, the small cracks can grow in the long run due to weather conditions and thermal tension.
- Larger cracks will eventually damage your solar cells, leading to production loss. Any damage at the contact points of the solar panels will significantly influence the energy production of the cells, which are wired in a series.
- There will be a significant effect on the total power output of the solar panel, which results in decreased performance in correlation with the number of solar cells that are broken. The installation of multiple busbars can help prevent this problem. If you see any cracks in your solar panel regardless of size, you have to contact a professional right away to address the problem and avoid major issues in the future.
Snail Trail or Discoloration
A solar-powered home is a great investment. However, like any other equipment or device, you might encounter some issues after many years, such as a snail trail. This refers to the discoloration of the solar panel, which is usually seen after several years.
Using a silver paste that is defective during the manufacturing process of the solar cell can lead to this problem. Oxidation between the encapsulated material and the silver paste, called ethylene vinyl acetate or EVA, occurs because moisture accumulates on the panel due to the defective silver paste.
Here are the possible outcomes of a snail trail or the discoloration of your solar panels:
- Chemical breakdown happens toward the front portion of the solar panel, which becomes visible.
- It reduces the performance of the solar panel.
- The presence of snail trails cause microscopic cracks, reducing power production.
Darker Spots on the Panel
Solar panels are expected to be water-tight and air-tight by laminating the components (solar sheets, glass layer, and back sheet) under a vacuum. A short lamination process, or if it was done incorrectly, can cause delamination or the detachment of laminated components.
The delamination and internal corrosion or rusting may cause darker spots on your solar panel. When moisture penetrates your solar panel, rusting or internal corrosion occurs. Darker spots usually begin at the end part of the solar panel and may spread, causing a reduction in the production of the panel.
Here’s a simple guide to testing the solar panel output before a solar panel repair:
- Test your 63-watt solar panel using a multimeter. Put the solar panel in direct sunlight and set the device to the “volts” setting.
- Touch the positive lead (red) of the multimeter with the positive wire of your solar panel.
- Next, touch the negative lead (black) of the multimeter with the negative wire of your solar panel.
- The expected volt reading should be close to 60 volts or below. Otherwise, there’s a problem with the solar panel output.
- Make sure to check all of your solar panel connections and all stringers, as well as cracks in the solar cells. If you notice these solar panel problems, you can ask for help from a professional to perform specific tests for problem identification and mitigation.
There are other problems you might encounter with your solar panels that may cause performance and production deterioration. That’s why if you notice even minor cracks, snail trails, or dark spots on your solar panels, perform output testing and contact a solar panel repair specialist immediately to determine and mitigate the problem.