The alternation of the seasons brings variations in temperature and the action of various atmospheric agents. These are rain, wind, and hail, which are good for our environment, especially in these years of serious climate change, but which could affect the performance and power of the panels of a photovoltaic system.
Even if solar panels do not require continuous care, we must remember that the seasonal variations they are exposed to daily could damage them.
But are there ways to protect the panels? And what are the most dangerous climatic agents?
Autumn and winter
Let’s start with the coldest months of the year: autumn and winter.
The lowering of temperatures brings phenomena such as snow and condensation, which could have consequences on the panels and, therefore, the efficiency of solar panels.
But with some precautions it is possible to avoid any damage, let’s find out all of them!
Snow and ice
Snow generally doesn’t represent a big problem for photovoltaic panels because, being inclined, they let snow accumulations slide.
However, if there is heavy snowfall, its weight could cause mechanical damage to the support structure and energy production.
If covered, the modules can no longer absorb the sun’s rays, and their performance drops considerably, even to the point of stopping.
Furthermore, the accumulated snow, if not removed, can freeze, further hindering correct operation.
The solution to avoid these unexpected events is always to keep the panels clean.
Monitoring from time to time that the snow has not accumulated is an operation that can be performed manually by the owner of a system, thanks also to anti-icing products (such as those used for the windshield of the car). In case of thick snow, it will be necessary to request the intervention of specialized companies.
Typical of winter mornings, condensation forms when warm, moisture-laden air comes into contact with a cold surface, such as glass.
This phenomenon can, therefore especially affect the integrated panels on the roof, reducing their production and, over time, leading to corrosion of the metal circuits.
To overcome this problem, it is necessary to provide adequate ventilation of the space behind the panels, as well as the opening of the panels to let the water evaporate. This operation must be carried out exclusively by specialized personnel.
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Now that we have analyzed the cold seasons, let’s move on to the warmer ones. Let’s see which atmospheric agents could interfere with the panels and which solutions to adopt.
Spring and summer
If with the cold, we witness the fall of snow and heavy ice, with the warmer seasons, we encounter rain and hailstorms.
Although a less dangerous phenomenon, some solutions allow us to protect our system.
A well-made and installed system should not be affected by damage caused by rain, while panels installed incorrectly (or those of the old generation) could be subject to water infiltration.
In particular, in the case of non-integrated panels, water could infiltrate the fixing holes (if these are not well sealed) and cause damage to the home.
In the case of integrated panels, however, water can penetrate between the modules in the separating edges, damaging the circuits.
When, on the other hand, the system is integrated into the roof, the rain could penetrate the separating edges between the modules, thus damaging the metal circuits.
But preventing any accident is possible. It will be sufficient to carry out periodic inspections (carried out independently or by relying on specialized companies) to ensure the correct installing solar panels.
The wind is the most common atmospheric agent and usually does not represent a source of damage to the panels.
This is because the space between the roof tiles and a solar module is very small, and the air can hardly penetrate.
But when we witness strong gusts of wind, we must instead be careful, especially if our roof is flat.
In this case, the ideal would be to insert steel supports, which allow the modules to be tilted so that the wind passes through them without too much force.
Also, in this case, it is possible to prevent unpleasant consequences thanks to some actions.
First, the installation company must analyze air currents using special software that simulates the action of the wind.
Now let’s see another atmospheric event typical of the warm seasons, particularly summer: hail.
Contrary to one might think, this is one of the least dangerous atmospheric agents for the panels.
This is because the latter is always installed with an inclination towards the south, a direction from which hail never comes. Furthermore, the modules are made up of different layers of materials, which help to make them even more consistent, such as tempered glass, an element suitable for absorbing the blows of even the strongest atmospheric events.
Even if hail does not represent a danger, it is always important to protect your system, so taking out insurance covering damages, including those caused by exceptional events, can be an ideal solution.
Can heat also damage a solar panel?
We are wrong if we think that only violent atmospheric agents can have consequences on photovoltaic panels. Often, the heat, what we think is a system’s best ally, damages it.
When temperatures exceed 25°C, the modules can overheat, compromising performance.
Also, in this case, preventing the worst, thanks to some operations, is important.
The first thing will be to choose the best portable solar panel with a high-temperature coefficient. Furthermore, you can resort to a temporary covering of the reflecting surfaces thanks to insulating fabrics or special automated structures, able to evaluate the panels’ temperature and intervene by shading them where overheating occurs.
Here is therefore explained how to act to protect our panels from the various atmospheric agents that characterize the seasons.
As we have seen, avoiding causing damage to a system is simple if we always monitor the system, ensure no agents settle, and keep the cleaning operations constant.
We know there are many benefits deriving from a photovoltaic system. The possibility of producing clean energy that is good for the environment and our wallet must not be stopped by the fear of certain phenomena.
How to protect photovoltaic panels?
To protect the panels from atmospheric agents, it is important to choose only those made with the most modern technologies and keep their maintenance and cleanliness constant.
Do the panels malfunction when the sky is overcast?
Even with less intensity, the sun, even when overcast, still manages to reach the photovoltaic modules, allowing energy to be produced.
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