Can You Walk On Solar Panels?

It is often thought that it may not be permissible to walk on solar panels or what is the reason behind walking on solar panels?

Well, there are times when you come across a situation where you have no other choice than to walk on solar panels.

For instance, this might happen when you are setting up your equipment or cleaning it after installation or just ran out of space, now the question arises, can you walk on solar panels?

Yes, you can, though it is safe it isn’t recommended because even a small scratch can cause a reduction in power output.

What Are Solar Panels Made Of?

To have a better understanding of solar panels it is important to know what are the components of a solar panel. Solar Panels have a metal frame, cells made up of silicon, a glass cover, and wire connections.

The solar cells are encapsulated in EVA foil and then covered by tempered glass.

The glass casing protects the Solar Panel or  Photo Voltaic Cells from dirt, debris, heavy snowfall, and natural disasters like hailstorms and hurricanes.

So technically if you wish to walk on the solar panels, you will be walking on the glass in actuality.

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What Are The Damages Caused To Solar Panels When You Walk On Them?

Even though it is totally fine to step up on a solar panel but walking on it frequently is not advisable. Skilled workers, while installing, walk on solar panels very cautiously however a regular person is more likely to do it the wrong way. It is possible that you

  • Get the glass scratched: You may not completely destroy the glass but you might put a scratch on the glass.A deep scratch can affect the solar panel by reducing the power output.
  • Break the glass cover: The glass cover is no doubt very sturdy and resilient towards natural calamities and disasters but it cannot stand a human’s weight over 190 pounds. One wrong move and it is broken.
  • Destroying the Busbars: Busbars are the cells between solar panels that make sure continuity of electricity between the cells and the panels. Destroying the busbars will overheat the module and thus cutting off output will be the only solution.

Falling directly over the module will destroy the solar system and might get you electrocuted.

Are Solar Panels Strong Enough To Withstand A Person’s Weight?

Solar Panels have different modules from portable thin-filament to crystalline silicon panels. As the name suggests it is impossible to walk on a thin-filament solar panel as it won’t tolerate the weight and pressure and will break easily.

Silicon Crystalline solar panels are most commonly used and are made to withstand a weight of 60-70 pounds per square inch.

According to the dimensions of a regular solar panel, let’s suppose 65×39 (equals 2535 sq. Inches) a person with a maximum weight of 190 pounds can walk on a solar panel without breaking or damaging it.

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People that are overweight or have a thin-film portable solar panel should avoid walking on the solar panel as it might cause serious damage to your solar panel. 

What Are The Potential Risks Of Walking On Solar Panels?

Around 95% of the solar panels, that are sold so far, are made of silicon. Silicon is the most abundant semiconductor which means you won’t get shocked while walking on the glass cover of the solar panel.

  1. Risk of getting a shock: You cannot get a direct electric shock from walking on the glass cover but there is a huge amount of direct current around and at the back of the module especially in day time which can cause an electric shock. Moreover, breaking the busbars while stepping over the panel might cause electrocution as well.
  2. Falling from a height: Solar Panels are fixated over roofs and falling from such a height can cause a serious injury.

Is There Any Suggested Way Of Walking On Solar Panels?

The need to walk on the solar panels is still there. There are a few recommendations that can help in avoiding damage as much as possible.

  1. If you feel like stepping up or walking on solar panels, do it on the fixture side. The side that is fixed to the roof is stronger and can tolerate heavy pressure and weight as compared to the other side.
  2. Don’t wear shoes that have a flat base because the glass cover is slippery and it might cause an injury.
  3. Walk firmly and do not jump on the solar panel because it can cause the breakage of glass and leave you with no power supply.
  4. The Panels get hot easily on a sunny day, avoid touching and walking when the temperatures are high.
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How Can You Clean A Solar Panel Without Walking On It?

Solar Panels are a one-time investment with low maintenance and you can clean them without walking on solar panels.

  • A garden hose with low pressure that can reach the height of a solar panel.
  • Spray Bottles that can spray detergents over a long distance.
  • Lint-free clothes are one of the most widely used fabrics for cleaning the sides of solar panels.
  • Extended rubber wipers can also be used to sweep away foliage and water after rainfall.
  • A good quality mop can also be used for drying the top glass cover of the solar panels.

Conclusion

You can walk on solar panels but it is not advised. Although typically used solar panels can withstand a weight of nearly 190 pounds, one wrong move can put high pressure on the glass case and cause breakage.

Smudging or scratching of the glass can also lead to reduced power output. Many varying factors can not only damage the module or break the glass but also put you at a high risk of getting electrocuted be very careful.

In order to avoid walking on the solar panels while installation, hire professionals to help and practice safety measures while cleaning them.