11 Nov

Mother Nature and the Cost of Solar Panels

Solar panels do an excellent job at producing clean and renewable energy but can they handle Mother Nature as well? To realize the incredible strength of a solar panel you first need to understand what they are made of. Solar panels contain photovoltaic silicon crystal cells that absorb the sun’s energy and produce electricity. On the outside of the panel there is a layer of extremely strong tempered glass which protects the energy-producing crystals. This durable glass is surprisingly strong when it comes to defending the crystal cells against the natural elements. In fact, it is six times stronger than normal glass! The cost of solar panels is directly influenced by the quality of glass that is used in manufacturing. As expected, the better quality of the glass the higher the cost of solar panels. The glass is created in a factory using extreme heat and many different chemicals. This type of glass is so resilient that it can withstand the pressure of a large truck driving over it, but don’t try that at home!

The specific strengths and limits of a solar panel depends on many factors such as the angle of the panel, the quality of the glass, and the climate where a solar panel is located. The clear polycarbonate sheets that are used on most solar panels are great for hurricane and storm protection while being incredibly light. Generally, the lighter the materials used the better the quality which leads to an increase in the cost of solar panels. They are made especially tough to be able to withstand high impact winds while still allowing efficient solar energy production.

There are many different solar panels available to consumers. They range in size, shape, thickness, wattage, and many other features. Each of these aspects directly influences the cost of solar panels. Additionally, in each state there are specific requirements regarding the quality of these solar panels. These include the minimum wind speeds, hail, and snow loads that a solar panel must be able to withstand. The average temperature range that a solar panel can handle is anywhere from 40°F to 212°F. A typical polycarbonate solar panel can handle snow loads up to 60 PSF (Pounds per Square Feet). These panels are even strong enough to withstand an impact from golf ball sized hail at a speed of over 250 miles per hour. Each part of a solar panel is designed to be able to continue producing solar power even on days that aren’t sunny and warm! Keep in mind that although the cost of solar panels increases with quality, the average cost has been decreasing over the years as solar becomes more popular!

Below is an amazing video that shows the pure strength that solar panels have.

Avery Horvath

Avery Horvath

Avery joined Clean Footprint as an intern and has since been promoted to Prospect Account Analyst. Her responsibilities include preparing solar reports, finding client contact information as well as importing prospective accounts. Avery is an active volunteer and leader in her community and she will be attending the University of South Florida next fall where she will study Finance.