According to the research result showcased by the Solar Technical Assistance Team or STAT, the overall productivity of solar panels deteriorates at a 0.5% rate annually. However, this is an average number and may change depending on the region you are staying in.
For example, if you are living in a hot region where you have to face an extremely high temperature, then the rate of decay will be much higher. However, there are different ways through which you will be able to significantly reduce the degradation rate and protect your solar panels from any kind of external damage.
If you think low-maintenance panels don’t need any kind of protection or maintenance, then you are in the wrong because even though you don’t need to worry about maintenance, you can definitely increase their lifespan by using solar panel covers.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about solar panel covers and how you will use these covers to extend the lifespan and durability of your solar panels.
Why is it important to use solar panel covers?
Generally, we use covers to protect different appliances such as laptops, desktops, cameras, smartphones, and even refrigerators. Similarly, we also need to use solar panel cover in order to protect the solar panels from harsh weather conditions as well as increase their longevity.
For some reason, if your solar panel gets a crack, then you will have to spend a lot of money to replace or repair the same. So if you want to avoid these kinds of unnecessary problems, then you should definitely use solar panel covers and protect them from external harm. These covers will also safeguard your solar panels from dust storms, extreme heat, excessive rainfall, snowfall, etc.
What do we mean by solar panel covers?
Solar panel covers have been created in such a way that they can easily protect solar panels from any kind of external harm and severe environmental conditions. These safeguarding materials are also famous for solar panel protective covers and solar panel blankets.
The materials used to produce solar panel covers are mainly polypropylene or polyethylene, which are extremely durable in nature. These protective covers will also assist in increasing the efficiency of the solar panels by maintaining them. Furthermore, in regions with high temperatures, you can utilize this protective cover to absorb some of the heat from the solar panels and safeguard them from any kind of damage.
You can easily come across solar panel covers of different sizes. Also, if you have a unique solar panel model, then you can also opt for a custom-made solar panel cover.
Different kinds of the solar panel cover
There are different types of solar panel covers available in the market. Before you go to the market to purchase the ideal solar panel cover for your solar system, you should check out all the details related to them and select the ideal one for your usage. Let us have a look at these different types of covers.
- Reflective covers: If you are currently residing in an area where the temperature is extensively high, then you need to cover your solar panels using reflective covers. As the name suggests, this type of cover is made using reflective materials, and they reflect the sunlight from the panels while absorbing the excessive heat. Using this type of cover can extend the life of your solar panels while increasing their efficiency simultaneously.
- Fixed-frame covers: If the current weather conditions of your region are not usually good, then using a fixed-frame cover would be a viable option. These types of covers are made using stainless steel and aluminum. Furthermore, they can significantly increase the durability of the solar panels by attaching themselves to the same.
- Clear plastic covers: This type of solar panel cover is manufactured using transparent plastic. It can basically protect the solar panels from dust, debris, bird droppings, etc., while letting the sunlight pass through and reach the solar panels.
- Retractable covers: As the name suggests, the retractable covers can be used and then folded over when you don’t need them. Due to this flexible feature, a lot of individuals who have installed solar panels utilize this kind of solar panel cover and protect their panels when they come across a sudden change in the weather. More importantly, you can receive maximum sunlight exposure while using this solar panel cover and protect the panels simultaneously.
- Solar blankets: Solar blankets are manufactured using polypropylene, and they can protect your solar panels from harsh weather conditions. They are also famous for solar pool covers. Although solar blankets are readily available in the market for some solar panel models, if you are using uncommon or high-quality solar panels, then you may have to use a custom-made solar blanket.
Type of protection you can receive from solar panel covers
Since solar panel covers mainly to protect you from different weather conditions, we should know a bit more about them in detail so that it can become easy for you to make a proper decision. Let us check them out:
Dust and debris
We often ignore the dust and debris accumulation on solar panels, but they can significantly reduce the efficiency and productivity of the solar panels. A lot of research has indicated that dust accumulation has reduced the productivity of solar panels by almost 50%, which will ultimately affect your monthly utility bills. You should use solar panel covers to protect your solar panels from dust and debris and ensure that the productivity of the solar panels does not get affected.
Hail is not a simple snowfall because it involves hard and solid ice. Since they are rapidly falling from the sky as hard objects, they can potentially damage the solar panels you have installed on your roof.
In a snowfall, snows usually fall slowly from the sky, and they are usually soft and fluffy, so they cannot bring much harm to your solar panels. However, the same is not applicable in the case of hail because the speed of the hailstones fall can go as high as up to 10 miles per hour. With this much speed, physically damaging your solar panels is an easy feat for the hailstones.
You also need to keep in mind that a lot of solar panel warranties do not cover hail storms, and that is why you won’t receive any kind of compensation if your solar panels receive any kind of physical damage from hailstorms. Therefore, using solar panel covers would be an ideal option for you.
If you want to use solar panel covers or not, it is totally up to you. Nevertheless, you need to keep in mind that it will definitely help you out a lot. Moreover, their usage also depends on the circumstances you are in because, in some regions, you must use a solar panel cover to increase the durability and lifespan of the panels, whereas, in other regions, you may not require it at all.
You can also closely monitor your solar system performance using a monitoring system and ensure that the panels are getting the required protection to last long.
Frequently asked questions
Do solar panels need to be covered?
Yes, for additional protection, solar panels need to be covered. It also depends on the region you are currently staying in. For example, if you are staying at a place where the temperature is extremely high, then you need to use solar panels to protect your panels from external harm because, due to high temperatures, the efficiency of the solar panels starts to decrease faster.
What can I use to cover solar panels?
You can use a plexiglass shield to cover up your solar panels. This solar panel cover can easily protect the solar panels even from the most harsh weather conditions. Due to the protective shield being transparent, the sunlight does not get blocked by this shield which means the efficiency and productivity of your solar panels will remain the same.
How long do solar panels last?
A normal solar panel can easily last for 25 years or more, depending on the usage and surrounding conditions. Moreover, if you are using high-quality monocrystalline solar panels, then it can last longer. Even after 25 years, the solar panels don’t stop working instead, their productivity reduces significantly.
What not to use on solar panels?
Don’t use things like soap, abrasive sponge, etc., to clean your solar panel because they will ultimately scratch the glass of the solar panels, which may lead to a major loss. If you still want to clean your solar panels using soap, then you should use a biodegradable soap along with a soft rag.
Remember not to use any kind of harsh materials on solar panels because they can severely damage your solar panels, and it takes a lot of money to repair them.
Do solar panels weaken over time?
The productivity and efficiency of solar panels weaken over time. If you are using high-quality solar panels, then you can expect them to degrade with a 0.5% degradation rate every single year. At the end of 25 to 30 years, they will generate 12% to 15% less electricity in comparison to a brand-new solar panel of the same wattage.
In this article, we have discussed what solar panel covers are, why you need them, the different types of solar panels available in the market, and what kind of benefits you can receive from using them. The FAQ’s have been taken from Google’s ‘People also ask’ section.