Suppose you’re considering buying a solar panel for your home or small business. In that case, you may ask, “Do solar panels degrade in the rain?”
You appreciate the fact that solar panels are fantastic sources of sustainable energy.
And you’ve budgeted for everything, including installation fees and materials, and found the one ideal for your roof.
Then, it hits you that summer does not last throughout the year. And you put your thinking hat on to decide whether going solar during the rainy season is worthwhile.
The post below will give you an overview of what to know about solar panel degradation during the rainy season before buying one.
Solar Panel Degradation: What Does It Mean?
Over time, solar cells lose their ability to absorb solar energy and become less effective. We refer to this as degradation.
Solar panels have a lifespan of 25-30 years. But, rooftop solar installations can last much longer, depending on part quality, design, and maintenance.
The degradation rate for a quality solar panel is 0.5% per year on average over its entire lifespan.
Still, it could be more significant in hotter areas and rooftop installations.
The Efficiency of a Solar Panel with Optimal Temperature
Do solar panels do better in cold weather?
It might amaze you that the response is yes. Contrary to widespread assumption, solar panels absorb the energy from the sun’s light instead of its heat.
Photons are solar energetic particles that make up sunlight.
The temperature does not affect the energy amount a particular solar panel absorbs.
Still, it affects how much power this energy produces. Solar panels absorb less sunlight power as they become hotter.
Electrons are at rest when carrying very little energy.
Heat also stimulates electrons, causing them to become very energetic.
Because heated electrons have high energy at rest, it reduces the difference across their resting and active states, resulting in less power.
Cold temperatures keep electrons in lesser energy states when resting, enhancing the power they produce when sunlight activates them.
Because of this, solar panels work best in cold temperatures.
Can Solar Panels Degrade in Rain?
Perhaps you live in a location prone to tropical storms, thunderstorms, or hurricanes. Fortunately, solar panels are waterproof, so you don’t have to stress about their degradation, malfunctioning, or rusting when it rains.
The clouds affect power output. Although heavy rain clouds impede energy generation, rainfall offers a secure and straightforward technique to clean solar panels.
Rainfall may clean the surfaces of solar panels, removing layers of debris and dirt from developing and preventing future sunlight, allowing your panel to run more efficiently. As a result, the pressure from a mild rainstorm saves you time for spot cleaning.
When it rains, your solar system may keep less energy. But it will clean the panel surfaces and relieve you of this maintenance chore. Suppose you live in a region with a robust net metering policy.
In that case, surplus energy produced by the panels during the day can offset the energy used at night. Also, it gets offset at other moments when the system isn’t running at total capacity.
Rain may not be a problem for your solar panels, but the overcast weather accompanying it may. Cloud layers block the sunlight and diminish a solar panel’s capacity to capture ultraviolet radiation.
Fortunately, solar panels can still absorb and hold more light energy — even if the sun isn’t shining as much.
How Long Can Solar Panels Resist Degradation?
Solar panels can withstand light rain. They respond well to weather as they are engineered to be as water-resistant to damage as much as possible. Solar panels are waterproof for limited periods of rainfall.
Solar panels are often covered with a small glass sheet at the front and shielded by a sheet at the rear.
They build this protection of a long-lasting polymer-based substance. Your solar panel turns waterproof when paired with metal frames and sealant glue, preventing water from harming the cells and wires.
But how can you strengthen the solar panel’s waterproof capabilities and ensure that the solar panel will then be reliable for a long time?
Your solar panel installation will safeguard the panels from water damage by changing the panel’s slant to fit your roof, allowing rain to glide down the surface.
Increasing the panel’s waterproof seal can further protect your solar panel against water degradation.
How does a submersible solar panel function in rainy weather? Technically, it can run as long as the back panel remains vacuum-sealed (which ought to be when bought), albeit at a lower effective rate.
Value-Adding Solar Panel Solutions to Rain
Although solar panels will continue to work during wet weather, the energy output will be 80-90% lower than typical, especially if you expect the rainfall to last several days.
Let’s consider 2 solutions to preempt the degradation of solar panels in prolonged rainy weather.
On-grid Solar Panel System
Most solar-powered homes use an ‘on-grid’ solar system, which means they have two sources of electricity: one from the sun and one from their electricity provider.
During a rainstorm, you can draw more energy from the utility system for your home. And your electricity supplier will bill you for such units at the end of each month.
Your utility grid will make up whatever power shortfall you’ve incurred because of rainy weather. Whenever the sun is at its brightest, the solar system will produce more power than is required, delivering the excess to the utility grid.
Your energy supplier can credit you for any excess units of electricity on your bill, which you can use throughout the rainy season. Isn’t that amazing?
If you own a solar ‘off-grid’ system, you may run out of power if it rains for an extended time. Note that this applies when you don’t have any backup power supply.
Solar batteries are ideal for inclement weather because they can charge while sunny! Solar batteries store extra energy generated by solar panels during the day.
In the event of lengthy sub-optimal weather circumstances, we recommend having a large solar battery as backup storage.
This increases your electricity storage capacity and ensures power even when your solar panels are no longer as effective.
Solar batteries are a temporary backup in case of widespread power loss.
Solar energy is a low-cost, environment-friendly power source for homes and smaller businesses.
But, it’s essential to research the degradation effects of rain during rain.
So, do solar panels degrade in the rain? While solar panels work in the rain shower, their efficiency may sometimes suffer in prolonged rainy weather.
Fortunately, waterproofing measures are in place to limit degradation during short periods of rainfall.
Also, there are workaround solutions, like on-grid systems and solar batteries, that may improve the performance of your solar panels.