Tips to Repair a Broken Solar Panel
Solar panels are getting more and more effective at generating energy for your household but, like any other piece of technology, they are not impervious to damage. And given that a single solar panel can cost hundreds of dollars to replace, figuring out how you can repair solar panels instead feels like a good idea.
Another cool thing to do is buy cracked solar panels that are still functional for a fraction of the cost and fix them yourself.
So, how can you fix a broken solar panel?
There are many things that can go wrong with this technology but most of them happen during the warranty period if they are to happen at all. The things that can get your solar panels damaged after a while are much more unpleasant, however, as those tend to require either a paid electrician’s help or a costly replacement. That is, unless you can fix it yourself.
Such problems include corrosion, loose wiring, hail damage or cracked panels due to other physical impacts, faulty sockets and connectors, and others.
The one good solution for dealing with corrosion is regular maintenance. If you let corrosion build-up you’ll almost always end up having to replace a part of your solar panel (the sockets and connectors being the most common victims) or replace the whole panel.
Should you catch the corrosion early on you can try cleaning it with specialized solar panel cleaning products and brushes. Never use regular soap, however, as that tends to leave a nasty residue behind it that shades the panels.
The glass on solar panels is attached to the solar cells beneath it so replacing the cracked glass is unfortunately not an option. Replacing the solar cells is annoying too as it’s usually just (or less) costly to just get a new panel.
Fortunately, you don’t need to replace anything for a simple crack as the solar panel will be just as effective even if its glass is cracked. The problem you need to be wary of, however, is that water and dirt will start building up in the crack and cause issues over time. So, to fix that, we’d recommend the following two solutions:
- Polyurethane or any waterproof resin. Just wash your panels, lay them level on the ground, mix the resin in a bucket (according to its instructions), and then pour it on your solar panel. Use a brush, a scrapper, or anything similar to push the resin all over the panel until it covers it evenly. Then just let it dry. This will cover your solar panel with a thin, perfectly transparent, and waterproof film that’d protect it from water and dirt buildup.
- Simple laminating film. Polyurethane and resins can start peeling off after a while if you haven’t spread them adequately so another – even easier – solution is to use laminating film. This is just as transparent as the resin and people often use it on their cars to protect their new coats of paint. The only thing to be careful with here is how well you spread the film over the solar panels – you don’t want any folds that can compromise how waterproof your solar panels are going to be.
There are other ways to fix cracked solar panels too but we’ve found those two to be the simplest and quickest ones while still being sufficiently effective.
Faulty sockets and connectors
These are the other very common problem with solar panels, especially if you’ve allowed for corrosion to spread rampantly. Unfortunately, there’s no repairing a faulty socket – all you can do is replace it. Fortunately, solar panel sockets are not too expensive and usually cost ~$10.