Walking on solar panels sounds like fun. Right? –at least for us who love such fun that can break your neck.
Please don’t blame me. I see people jumping over a ramp during motocross or BMX biking. How safe is that?
There is a debate out there on whether it is OKAY to walk on your solar panels. Some say you can, while others discourage such a thing.
In this article, we shall settle this debate once and for all so that you can have peace of mind when it comes to maintaining your solar power system.
- Solar panels can withstand a certain amount of weight, but it is not recommended to walk on them.
- Walking on solar panels can damage the solar cells, which can reduce the efficiency of the solar panel.
- Walking on solar panels can also cause electric shock if the solar panels are not properly grounded.
- Some solar panels are designed to be walked on, but these panels are typically more expensive.
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So, can you walk on solar panels?
Yes, you can walk on solar panels. However, while this exciting adventure is possible, it is not recommended because the tempered glass that makes up the solar panel is thin and fragile.
Thin and fragile glass breaks easily. Your weight is enough to damage the PV cell, busbars, and even the tempered glass that makes up the panel.
Can I Walk On A Flexible Solar Panel?
Yes, it is possible to walk on flexible solar panels, as brands produce flexible and semi-flexible solar panels designed to be walked on without damaging the solar cells. These panels have a strong aluminum backing and extra thick ETFE laminate non-skid surface, which allows them to be walked on without fear of damaging the solar cells.
Walking on flexible solar panels depends on the type of flexible solar panel.
- Walk-on flexible solar panels are typically made with a thick protective layer that can withstand the weight of a person walking on them. These panels are often used on boats, RVs, and other vehicles with limited space.
- Standard flexible solar panels are not designed to be walked on. These panels are typically made with a thinner protective layer that can be easily damaged by foot traffic.
How much weight can a solar panel hold?
A standard roof-mounted solar panel can hold around 50 to 75 pounds per square foot – OR 23 to 34 kilograms per square foot. This means a typical solar panel – approximately 65 inches by 39 inches – can hold around 200 to 300 pounds OR about 91-136 kilograms.
NOTE that this is a general example, and various factors determine how much weight a solar panel can hold.
Solar panel type: Rigid solar panels are typically more durable and can withstand more weight than flexible solar panels.
The mounting equipment: The mounting equipment used to secure the solar panels to the roof will also affect the weight capacity.
The roof weight limit: The roof’s weight limit is the maximum weight your roof can safely support. This limit will vary depending on the type of roof and its construction.
What are the risks of walking on solar panels?
While walking on your roof-mounted or ground-mounted solar panel is a possible endeavor, there are risks involved.
The most significant risk of walking on solar panels is damaging the solar cells. And you’ll not love the reduced efficiency and less electricity from your damaged solar panels.
In some cases, damaged solar cells can cause the panel to stop working.
Another risk of walking on solar panels is electric shock. While it is not likely that your sunlight harvesters will zap you, it can still happen, especially if there are loose cables. The risk of electric shock is even much higher if your solar power system is connected to the grid.
Sliding and falling is another risk. This can cause severe injuries, including broken bones, head injuries, and even death. The risk is even much higher during rainy or snowing seasons since rainwater and snow make your solar panels slippery.
How to walk on solar panels safely
If you must walk on solar panels, be sure to take the following precautions:
- Distribute your weight evenly.
- Avoid putting too much pressure on any one area.
- Walk slowly and carefully.
- Do not run or jump on the panels.
- Wear shoes with soft soles to avoid scratching the surface.
Factors to consider before walking on solar panels
While solar panels are designed to be sturdy and withstand various weather conditions, walking on them is generally not recommended. However, there are a few factors to consider before deciding.
- Installation type: The installation method is crucial in determining whether walking on solar panels is feasible. Ground-mounted panels are usually more durable and can handle some foot traffic, while rooftop panels are more delicate and require extra caution.
- Panel age and condition: Older or damaged panels are more susceptible to breakage, and walking on them could cause further harm. It is essential to assess the condition of the panels before considering any physical contact.
What are the invisible damages from walking on solar panels?
We’ve already mentioned that it’s not recommended to walk on your solar panels.
In addition to falling and breaking your bones, you can cause various invisible damages that will hurt the performance of your PV systems. These invisible damages from walking on solar panels include
These tiny fractures on solar cells are invisible to the naked eye but can cause significant damage to the solar panels over time. Walking on solar panels can create tiny cracks in the cells underneath, causing invisible damage and beginning the downhill spiral to fading performance. Microcracks can reduce the efficiency of the solar panel by up to 20%.
B. Accumulated cracks:
Walking on solar panels can cause cracks that are invisible to the naked eye but cause real damage to the panels when they accumulate. These cracks can lead to loss of efficiency and even complete failure of the solar panels.
Delamination is a condition where the layers of the solar panel separate. Walking on the solar panels can subject your panels to too much stress resulting in delamination. Delamination can cause the solar panel to fail completely.
Corrosion can occur if the solar panel is exposed to moisture or chemicals. Walking on the panels may result in cracks that allow moisture and chemicals to penetrate the solar cells, leading to corrosion. Corrosion can damage the solar cells and the electrical components of the solar panel.
Also, solar cells are typically coated with a protective layer to prevent moisture and chemicals from penetrating them. However, a person walking on a solar panel can damage this protective coating, allowing moisture to sip in, leading to corrosion.
Five Solar Panels that are OKAY to walk on
Here is a list of the top 5 rooftop and ground-mounted solar panels that are okay to walk on:
Solara walk-on solar panels.
These panels are made with a thick protective layer that can withstand the weight of a person walking on them. They are also made with high-quality materials that will last for many years.
Solbian walk-on solar panels
Solbian Solar panels are made with a thick protective layer that can withstand the weight of a person walking on them. They are also water-resistant and durable, making them a good choice for rooftop and ground-mounted applications.
SunPower Maxeon flexible solar panels
SunPower Maxeon panels are a high-efficiency option that is also okay to walk on. They are made with a thin-film technology that makes them lightweight, flexible, and strong enough to withstand foot traffic.
SolarMax walkable solar panels
SolarMax panels are made with a tempered glass surface resistant to foot traffic damage. They are water-resistant and have a non-slip backing, making them a safe and secure choice for rooftop or ground-mounted applications.
Marine semi-rigid solar panels
Marine semi-rigid solar panels are made of a durable material that can withstand the harsh conditions of the marine environment. They are also water-resistant and can be used on boats, docks, and other marine structures.
These panels are all designed to be walked on without damaging the solar cells. They are also made with high-quality materials that will last for many years. If you are looking for a flexible solar panel that can be walked on, I recommend one of the panels listed above.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you sit on solar panels?
Generally, no, you cannot sit on solar panels. Most solar panels are not designed to withstand the weight of a person sitting on them. However, some solar panels are designed to be walked on, such as solar blankets.
These panels are typically made with a thick protective layer that can withstand a person’s weight. If you are still determining whether or not a solar panel can be sat on, it is best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions.
2. Can you walk on solar blankets?
Yes, you can walk on solar blankets. Solar blankets are typically made with a thick protective layer that can withstand a person’s weight. Solar blankets are often used in outdoor applications, such as camping and hiking.
They can generate electricity to power small devices, such as a cell phone or a GPS. However, it is essential to note that solar blankets are less efficient than traditional solar panels. This is because solar blankets are typically made with a lower concentration of solar cells.
3. Does a broken solar panel work?
A broken solar panel will not work as efficiently as a fully functional one. However, it may still be able to generate some electricity. The amount of electricity a broken solar panel can generate depends on the severity of the damage. If the damage is minor, the solar panel may still be able to generate a significant amount of electricity.
However, if the damage is severe, the solar panel may not be able to generate any electricity at all. If you have a broken solar panel, it is best to consult a solar panel installer to determine whether it can be repaired or needs replacing.
Can You Walk on Solar Panels: Final Thoughts
So, while you can technically walk on your solar panels, it is not recommended as you may damage them. While solar panels can withstand a certain amount of weight, walking on them can damage the solar cells and reduce the efficiency of the solar panel.
In some cases, walking on solar panels can even cause electric shock. Considering walking on solar panels, it is essential to weigh the risks and benefits carefully. You should also consult with a solar panel installer to get their recommendations.
Here are some additional points that could be included in the concluding paragraph:
- If you need to walk on solar panels, it is important to do so carefully. Distribute your weight evenly and avoid putting too much pressure on any area.
- Wear shoes with soft soles to avoid scratching the surface of the solar panels.
- If you are unsure whether or not a particular solar panel is okay to walk on, it is best to consult with the manufacturer or a solar panel installer.