Are the solar panels resistant to salt and corrosion?

If you live by the sea, the air around you contains high levels of salt. You may be wondering if a high salt environment could harm your solar PV system.

When comparing different options on the market, it is important to know how well the 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 electronic components and metal parts in general, and whether solar panels are at risk of damage.

Contents

Solar panels and salt.

Living in an environment with a lot of salt means that your solar installation will have to operate under slightly different conditions than a conventional solar energy system. The two effects of a salty environment that you need to be aware of are corrosion and loss of efficiency.

Corrosion.

Many metals rust over time simply because they are near water or outdoors, but the presence of salt can accelerate the corrosion process.

Salt reacts with water to form a slightly acidic solution, which can cause corrosion or rust faster than water alone.

This means that if you live near the sea, your outdoor metal and electronic equipment is at risk of accelerated corrosion. In the case of solar panels, this could mean the risk of rust on mounting systems or wiring, or even rust on the solar cells themselves.

Fortunately, solar panels are highly corrosion resistant. The solar modules themselves are vacuum sealed between their back and inner sheet, which prevents interior salt corrosion. 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, manufacturers of quality solar panels will test their solar panels to ensure that they pass a test known as the IEC 61701 salt spray corrosion test. Panels that have received this certification have undergone rigorous testing that simulate the effects of the harsh coastal climate.

Solar panel materials are also designed to be highly corrosion resistant, even in saline conditions. The frames of the solar modules are almost all made of anodized aluminum, a metal that is very resistant to corrosion in saline conditions.

Solar rack systems installed on properties close to the sea are also likely to be anodized aluminum. If you have any questions or concerns about the materials used in your solar installation, it’s always a good idea to ask your installer what they use to ensure your installation is salinity resistant.

Loss of efficiency.

Salt can also affect the performance of solar panels without damaging the metal parts of your photovoltaic installation. Over time, salt can settle on your panels, reducing their effectiveness.

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 your panel warranty.

As 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 land, due to the additional risk of corrosion and loss of efficiency.

Before purchasing a solar panel system, review the panel manufacturer’s warranty agreement offered to ensure you are still covered. Your solar installer should be able to recommend IEC 61701 certified panels and full warranty coverage, no matter 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 an excellent investment and are resistant to the effects of salty sea air. Comparing multiple budget options is key to getting the best deal for the area where the panels will work.

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