Every solar panel owner has at least once in their life asked themselves, “Can I walk on my solar panels?” Reasons for doing so are numerous. You may need to fix something on your roof, for instance, or check whether your panels are working correctly. And if you have no appropriate walkways, walking on solar panels may seem like a good option.
But is it really, or would it be better to find a different solution when walking on your roof?
Let’s take a closer look.
Why You Shouldn’t Walk on Solar Panels
Considering that your solar panels are built to withstand the elements, including storms, heavy rain, and hail, you’d think that walking on them wouldn’t make much difference. And to some extent, that’s true — they likely won’t break if you step on them a few times. Still, most solar panel experts will strongly advise you against walking on them unless you absolutely must.
So, why is that the case, exactly? Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not because you risk electrocution by stepping on a solar panel. They are perfectly safe for you; the issue is that you’re not safe for them. Walking on your solar panels might damage the glass cells and leave tiny scratches on the surface. And while that alone might not be a big deal, it could cause trouble down the line.
For instance, the small scratch you made could eventually grow bigger due to thermal expansion and contraction or weather conditions. Then, as these cracks and scratches accumulate, your solar cells might get damaged and stop working entirely.
And since solar panels are expensive to install and maintain, you certainly don’t want them to break due to your own carelessness. So, it’s best to avoid walking on them whenever you can. But if you have absolutely no choice, move carefully along the part that’s fixed to the roof, as it should be sturdier. You should also take off your shoes — shards and debris could stick to them and damage your solar panels quicker.
Can You Fix a Damaged Solar Panel?
If you have been walking on your solar panels and ended up damaging them, you’re probably wondering if there’s a way to fix them. That largely depends on how big the damage is — for instance, if it’s just a single cell, replacing it should be enough. In some cases, you might not have to fix anything at all. Your solar panel is likely to have a reduced power output, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem as long as you still get around 85% of its rated voltage.
But if there are serious cracks on your panel, you’ll probably need to replace it entirely. As most experts will tell you, there’s no real way to fix a broken solar panel. Still, before you decide to get a new one, it’s best to talk to a professional and hear their opinion. They’ll know whether there’s any hope for your solar panel or not.
Ultimately, it’s best to think twice before you decide to walk on your solar panels. While you’re unlikely to damage them right away, there’s a good chance you’ll make tiny scratches that could turn into a bigger problem. So instead of risking it, find alternative routes while walking on the roof.
If you’ve already damaged your solar panels, though, contact an expert and ask about your options. Here at Atlantic Key Energy, we’ll be happy to send our professionals to help you out. We have years of experience in this field, so you can trust us both with repairing and replacing your solar panels!