Do Solar Panels Degrade in Rain?

  • By: Preetam
  • Date: August 20, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Are you considering installing solar panels on your property but are worried about what might happen to them during inclement weather? Do solar panels degrade in rain?

Solar panels are weather resistant and will not degrade in the rain. But they will not generate as much power in the rain as they would on sunny, cloudless days. 

There’s still a lot left to be said about solar panels and how they work in different weather conditions. 

To find out everything you need to know about them, make sure you check out the next section of this article.

Can You Leave Solar Panels Out in the Rain?

Solar panels are ideal for generating electricity in sunny climates. 

They can convert the energy from the sun into electricity that you can use to power the devices in your home. 

Solar power is becoming increasingly popular amongst homeowners that are looking for ways to live off-the-grid. 

Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee sunshine 365 days a year. So what should you do with your solar panels when the weather is bad? Can you leave them out in the rain? Solar panels are weather resistant. 

This means that they will not be damaged when it rains. You can rest assured that they will not suffer damage in the rain, fog, or snow.

The only things you must be aware of are the limitations of solar panels. In the absence of sunlight, they will not be able to generate a lot of electricity. 

This means that your solar panels will be a lot less efficient on a cloudy or rainy day than they would be on a clear, bright, sunny day. 

There is also some concern about portable solar panels. Some portable solar panels are not waterproof and can suffer damage in the rain.

If your portable solar panels are not waterproof, you should put them under shelter when the weather turns inclement. This will protect them from damage.

What Happens When Rain Falls on Solar Panels?

Solar panels are great ways of generating electricity when the sun is shining. But we cannot expect every day to be bright and sunny. 

So, what happens when the weather is not quite so nice? What happens when rain falls on solar panels? Here are a couple of things you can expect:

  • Rainy days have 90% less sunlight than sunny days. This means you can expect your electricity generation to reduce drastically when it rains or when the weather is overcast.
  • Solar panels are waterproof. They will not be damaged by rain, snow, or fog.
  • Solar panels need cleaning periodically. The rain that falls on the solar panels will help to clean them. The rain could rinse dirt and debris from the top of the panels. This will help the panels to generate even more energy the next time the sun comes out.

Now, we’ve spoken a bit about what happens to regular solar panels when it rains. 

But we haven’t yet considered what happens to hydro solar panels or portable solar panels when it rains. 

Take a look at the following information that will compare these 3 types of solar panels and how they fair when there is a downpour.

Normal Solar PanelsHydro Solar PanelsPortable Solar Panels
Electricity generationDrastically reducedContinue generating electricity from the force of the falling rainDrastically reduced
Effect of rain on the solar panelsNoneNoneSome are damaged during wet weather. It is best to take them inside or cover them when it rains.
Benefits of rain on the solar panelsThe rain washes dust and debris off of themThey transform rain into electricity that will continue powering your home. But they are not as effective as they are in the sunlight on bright days. None

Do Solar Panels Degrade When Not in Use?

Your solar panels are designed to be outside 24/7. They are waterproof and resistant to rain, fog, and snow. 

Whether you are at home benefiting from the electricity your solar panels generate or not, they will not degrade. Solar panels will not degrade when they are not in use. 

Your solar panels’ efficiency, however, will decrease when the weather is overcast. In fact, you can expect to have to switch to a completely different source of electricity when the weather is bad. 

This is because rainy days have 90% less sunlight than sunny days. Even though your solar panels are out of action for a couple of dreary days, they will still work well when the weather improves. 

So we’ve spoken a bit about the factors that cannot degrade a solar panel. But what kind of things do degrade solar panels? Here are just a few:

  • Extreme weather. Extreme snow, hail, rain, wind, and frost are all elements that can degrade your solar panels over time. Extreme temperatures and weather conditions can cause cracks to form in your solar panels that begin to deteriorate the makeup of the panels over time.
  • Maintenance. The lack of good maintenance of your solar panels can also cause them to degrade prematurely. 
  • Good manufacturing and installation. Solar panels that are made from high-quality materials will best be able to withstand inclement weather. Better materials will age slower and will need less frequent repairs. Some manufacturers, for example, reduce the amount of aluminum they put in the frames in order to keep their prices down. But thicker frames with the right amount of aluminum better stand the test of time.
Do Solar Panels Degrade When Not in Use?

Is It OK to Hose off Solar Panels?

We all know that solar panels generate the most electricity on bright, sunny days. The cleaner your solar panels, the more electricity they will be able to generate. 

Your solar panels will get a little wash here and there when it rains. This will run some of the dirt and debris off of them. But what should you do if your solar panels need a more thorough wash?

You can use a hose to wash your solar panels. But when you do so, you should keep the following tips in mind:

  • Turn the solar panels off before you begin cleaning them. Solar panels are connected to electrical equipment. You should not attempt to clean them while they are on.  
  • Do not use a pressure hose. The pressure from hoses like this could form hairline cracks in your solar panels. It is best to use a regular hose and some dish soap or a rag to remove stubborn dirt from your solar panels.
  • Use the correct safety equipment. Do you have to climb onto a roof to access your solar panels? If so, then make sure you have a hard hat, a sturdy ladder, and a harness. If you do not feel safe cleaning the solar panels yourself, you should call a professional to clean them for you.

Can Solar Panels Get Wet?

Solar panels generate the most energy when the weather is bright and sunny. But you may be concerned about how they will do on rainy days. 

Can solar panels get wet? Yes, solar panels can get wet. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Solar panels are waterproof. They are designed to withstand rain, fog, and snow.
  • Solar panels are cleaned when it rains. The rain washes dust and debris off of the surface of the panels. This helps them to operate more efficiently.

Are Most Solar Panels Waterproof?

We all want to know how well our solar panels will do when left out in the rain. 

Although they may stop generating electricity, we can be sure that they will begin to generate it again as soon as the weather improves. This is because most solar panels are waterproof.

The only exceptions are a very small number of portable solar panels that are not waterproof. If you have portable solar panels at home, you should check with your manufacturer whether they can be left out in the rain or not. 

If not, you should cover them or wheel them inside when it rains.

Most solar panels are made from waterproof materials and can stand strong against rain, fog, and snow. 

However, extreme temperatures and extreme weather can compromise the integrity of your solar panels. 

After a bout of extreme weather, you should have your solar panels inspected. You should also be aware that general wear and tear will degrade your panels over time.

Final Thoughts

Many homeowners are considering making the swap to solar panels as their main source of energy. 

This will help them to save money on their electric bills and will also help them to do their bit for the environment. 

But if you’re new to solar panels you might wonder how they will fare against inclement weather. Do solar panels degrade in rain?

As we have seen in this article, normal solar panels will not degrade in the rain. 

Solar panels are waterproof and can withstand rain, fog, and snow. But you can expect their electricity generation to drastically reduce while the weather is damp. 

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