Can Walking On Solar Panels Break It Or Cause Any Long Term Damage? - Solar Tech Advisers
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Can Walking On Solar Panels Break It or Cause Any Long Term Damage?

Solar panels offer a sustainable solution to energy woes. Photovoltaic energy is made using direct sunlight with the help of solar panels. They generate a renewable and eco-friendly form of solar power, offering hope to future generations. However, there are several doubts and misconceptions about maintaining them, and one of them is Walking on Solar Panels while installing them before commissioning the system.

As they do not create any carbon footprint in this process, you can produce clean electricity using solar panels. Because of their many advantages, the solar industry is thriving these days, and solar panel installation is skyrocketing.

After installing solar panels, it is important to clean them regularly. As most installations are either a solar roof or in the form of a solar array, it is hard to reach a few places for cleaning.

This brings us to the question; can you walk on solar panels? The straightforward answer is no. If you are curious about why you cannot walk on solar panels or what happens when you do, then keep reading.

Can You Walk on Solar Panels?

To keep panel surfaces in good condition, i.e., you need to stop stepping on them at their maximum productivity. The solar panels break when you do so. You might not see visible damage, but they crack internally [1]. These cracks reduce the efficiency of the panel.

A broken solar panel is more vulnerable and prone to immense damage over time. During natural calamities, this damage is more pronounced. The setup of crystalline cells is expensive. Even just a scratch on the solar cells reduces power output efficiency.

The solar panels use silicon and glass, which tend to scratch upon impact. The impact can be from walking on solar panels to the dirt, debris, sludge, climatic conditions, and even a pebble stuck on the panels. Once they get scratches on them, the solar cells lose their efficiency.

Apart from the cost of installing a solar panel, we bear the time and effort they take for maintenance just because of the clean power they provide. Keeping these reasons in mind, it is best not to walk on solar panels either for cleaning or for just getting some fun out of it.

Cracks

Your weight and the quality of solar panels are considered to calculate if they break when you walk on them. In most cases, the answer is “yes.” Walking on panels leads to cracks and breakage. Also, the thin-film panels cannot handle heavy weight.

Scratches

When you walk on the solar panel glass, they get scratched easily from the particles stuck to your foot or footwear. When scratches on the glass, it loses its optimum ability to utilize the sunlight, leading to a lowered solar cell efficiency. 

Say up to 10 to 20% decrease is possible in the power output. You can verify the power output by measuring the voltage across the cells.

Techinican checking out the wattage of Solar Panels
Testing Solar Panel Wattage

Other factors

Apart from walking on solar panels, hail can cause micro-cracks that gradually deteriorate the panel. Similarly, snow causes a change in thermal conditions leading to degraded panel functionality. Storm and lightning are also natural causes that damage the panel. 

Even small branches can disrupt this electrical installation when a strong wind is blowing. Several models are capable of enduring most of these climatic conditions. But still, all possible conditions are mentioned here to cover even the not-so-good variety of equipment.

Walking on a Solar Panel

Even though a few manufacturers claim that certain panels are strong enough to walk on Solar Panels is okay, it is better not to take chances. Never think of stepping on the flexible solar panels as they are very fragile to your weight. Even though they are tolerant to reasonable climatic conditions, they are not capable of bearing point load.

If you must walk on them, ensure you wear heavy-duty rubber boots as the tempered glass surface is very slippery. Make sure the sole of these shoes is dust-free to keep the surface from scratching. Along with avoiding scratches on the glass, these rubber boots give you a better grip on your foot. Since most repair is required after wet conditions, the panel surface can be extremely slippery.

On the other hand, the marine solar panels are strong enough to handle the harsh marine environment, as they are specifically designed to handle more pressure. Though they can handle your body weight, we recommend walking on them if and only when necessary.

Safety Tips For Walking on Solar Panels

Few tips can help you safely navigate your body weight by walking on Solar Panels and over the eligible solar power system.

  • It is not how much weight but how you distribute it evenly is important while walking on them.
  • Move slowly without putting much pressure that pushes the surface of the solar panel.
  • Moving closely along the panel fixture allows you to distribute the pressure rather than on the panels onto the fixtures.
  • If stepping barefoot, clean them just before stepping on them.
  • Do not stand in one place for long periods.

This way, you can avoid potential damage to a large extent. Speaking of eligibility, though manufacturers claim they are strong enough, it is always safe to exercise vigilance. The damage that occurs, later on, is expensive, and if it is not covered under insurance, that might burn a hole in your pocket.

Checking For Solar System Damage

Here are your answers if you have already stepped on your solar panel and checked out the consequences. The course of action depends on how much damage you caused to the panel. If the solar panel breaks only in a limited place, such as a single cell, you can simply replace that broken solar cell.

Most of the time, micro-cracks are covered by insurance. It is always good to check them with an expert technician before attempting any DIYs. Suppose it is just a crack or a little broken area, waterproofing that part can make your solar panel functional. But again, having an expert opinion is always the way to go.

Sometimes the issues are due to installation. If the panels are not installed correctly, the warranty should cover them.

Walking on Solar Panels
Professional Tightening up the Solar Panels before its use

Hire a Professional to Work on Your Solar Cells

Calling professional help to clean or repair a solar roof is highly recommended. They have harnesses and safety equipment to handle glass hazards and are well trained.

The broken solar panel work involves handling glass, usually placed in high places like a roof. So, safety equipment such as a hard hat and safety goggles are important when you repair them.

Try to avoid the circumstances that necessitate walking or standing on the glass by leaving enough gaps during installation. This arrangement can help you clean or repair without stepping on them when planned. Hiring a certified professional will help avoid any costly damage to the solar module.

They know warranty regulations, meaning you can keep it intact if needed. If you try to save little money by fixing things by yourself, it can result in a higher expense or a safety concern. So, let the experts take care of this part.

Free photos of Solar panels

How Much Weight Can a Solar Panel Bear?

There are several types of solar panels available these days, such as thin-film solar panels, silicon solar panels, etc. Not all of them have equal toughness. The photovoltaic (PV) system is layered with tempered glass to protect it from impact.

Generally, the tolerance level of these panels is 75 pounds per square inch. The weight of an average female is 200 pounds. Keeping this in mind and based on your panels’ area, material strength, and reinforcement, you can decide if your setup can tolerate your weight.

Conclusion

While striving to produce contamination-free renewable energy using the warmth of direct sunlight, it is also important to protect the costly equipment. Solar power does offer us better sustainability, but it becomes inexpensive only if the solar panels are maintained properly.

The solar system surface is mainly glass and can easily crack. Timely maintenance of the solar roof will give it a life of 20 to 25 years. A cracked panel or a broken panel reduced this time drastically.

A cracked solar panel tends to get more damaged during natural calamities. So, it is best not to walk on solar panels to avoid it altogether. Enjoy the electricity generated using the crystalline cells in the panel using the sun’s light. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Are solar panels strong enough to walk on?

No, they are not strong enough to walk on. Doing so will lead to the destruction of cells. The solar panels handle only a certain weight, and our weight is too much for them unless they are reinforced with protection. Even then, it is not a good option to walk on them.

Can you walk on a solar roof?

A solar roof cannot easily withstand the pressure your weight can put on it. Though ad report of these products states otherwise, it is always wise not to step on the roof installation. When you engage in such actions, the minor cracks caused in the cells under the glass can reduce the system’s functionality. It leads to lower power generation. The consequence is extra repair charges and less output.

Can you survive on solar panels?

It is possible to survive on solar panels without any other electrical installation. You only need to match the square foot area of solar panel coverage you require to match your power consumption. Another way is to use limited appliances that do not draw much power to help you survive on solar power alone.

Can solar panels hurt you?

While they are safe in most circumstances, you cannot say they are completely free from causing shocks if you walk or stand on them. It depends on the correct solar panel installations and proper ground wire implementation. Also, cracked solar panels are possibly in danger of electrocuting the person walking on them. Sometimes unfavorable weather conditions can break the insulation, resulting in shock.

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