If you live by the sea, the air around you contains high levels of salt. You may be wondering if an environment with a high salt content could harm your solar PV system.
When comparing different options on the market, it’s important to know how well solar panels will hold up if you live in an area where environmental factors such as air and salt water are present. Today we will look at how air and salt water can damage or affect outdoor electronics and metal parts in general, and whether solar panels are at risk of damage.
Solar panels and salt.
Living in an environment with a lot of salt means that your solar installation will have to work in slightly different conditions than a conventional solar energy system. The two effects of a salty environment that you should be aware of are corrosion and loss of efficiency.
Many metals rust over time simply from being around water or outdoors, but the presence of salt can speed up the corrosion process.
Salt reacts with water to form a slightly acidic solution, which can cause corrosion or rust at a faster rate than water alone.
This means that if you live near the sea, your outdoor metal and electronic equipment may be at risk of accelerated corrosion. In the case of solar panels, this could mean the risk of oxidizing mounting systems or wiring, or even oxidizing the solar cells themselves.
Fortunately, solar panels are very resistant to corrosion. The solar modules themselves are vacuum sealed between their back and inner sheet, which prevents interior corrosion due to salt. This means that unless there is a crack in your panels, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to your solar modules corroding.
Additionally, quality solar panel manufacturers will test their solar panels to ensure they pass a test known as the IEC 61701 salt spray corrosion test. Panels that have received this certification have undergone rigorous testing that simulates the effects of harsh coastal climate.
Solar panel materials are also designed to be highly resistant to corrosion, even in saline conditions. Solar module frames are almost all made of anodized aluminum, a metal that is highly resistant to corrosion in saline conditions.
Solar rack systems installed on properties near the sea are also likely to be made from anodized aluminium. If you have any questions or concerns about the materials used in your solar installation, it is always a good idea to ask your installer what they are using to ensure that your installation is resistant to salinity.
Loss of efficiency.
Salt can also affect the output of solar panels without damaging the metal parts of your photovoltaic system. Over time, salt can deposit on your panels, reducing their efficiency.
To combat any potential loss of energy production due to salt deposits, you can clean your solar panels from time to time. Rain will also naturally clean your panels.
Check the warranty of your panel.
As we have already mentioned, many panels from quality manufacturers will have IEC 61701 certification, indicating that they can withstand the effects of salinity. Even if your solar panels have this certification, it’s a good idea to check the warranty.
Some panel manufacturers (especially those that are not IEC 61701 certified) do not offer the same level of protection for solar modules installed on shore, due to the added risk of corrosion and loss of efficiency.
Before you buy a solar panel system, check out the proposed panel manufacturer’s warranty agreement to make sure you’re still covered. Your solar installer should be able to recommend panels with IEC 61701 certification and full warranty coverage, regardless of how close your home or business is to the sea.
Quotes from trusted solar installers.
If you live near the sea, solar panels are still a great investment and withstand the effects of the salty sea air. Comparing several budget options is essential to get the best offer suitable for the area where the panels are going to work.
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