Solar Panel Repair 101: A Comprehensive Guide


Quality solar panels are built to withstand heavy usage, weather, and storms without damage. Also, without moving parts, panels experience little wear and tear. 

However, many things can happen over the lifetime of your photovoltaic (PV) modules that may necessitate repair and replacement. Homeowners can do minor repairs, while other repairs are best left to the professionals. 

Let’s look at the common problems that can arise and how to deal with them!

Can You Repair Damaged Solar Panels?

Solar panels offer a lot of benefits. Whether you have rigid, portable, or flexible solar panels, they’re an excellent way to generate renewable electricity and can even be used for a whole home generator. But what happens when they get damaged? 

As long as the damage to the solar panel is limited to microcracks or faulty wiring, they can typically be repaired. While microcracks technically cannot be fixed, the problems they create can be addressed. 

If your glass is flaking off or delaminated, the entire module must be shipped away for repairs. Since the cost of new panels keeps decreasing, it’s often better to just replace them. 

Common Reasons Why Solar Panel Repairs May Be Necessary

While PVs are remarkably resilient if properly installed, several common problems can arise that may make repairing your module necessary. 

It can be tempting to leave damaged panels in the hope that they still generate some electricity. However, any damage can allow moisture to seep in, causing internal corrosion, electrical shortages, and even fires, so it’s best to repair them. 

Build-Up of Debris

Dust, pollen, sap, leaves, and bird droppings can block sunlight, diminishing your PVs’ efficiency. Furthermore, if debris is left on, it can create hot spots and microcracks. 

Flat roof installations of rigid solar panels are more prone to debris build-up than those installed on a gradient where debris typically rolls off. 

To avoid problems, you should clean solar panels routinely. Twice yearly is often recommended, but you may need more or less, depending on your climate and installation. 

Cleaning can be trickier for steep roof installations than with portable solar panels that are generally more accessible and easy to clean.

Damage From Rodents, Birds, and Other Pests

Birds and rodents sometimes scratch the glass panels by climbing on them repeatedly. They also build nests under the modules that can cause heat to build up. Rodents sometimes like to chew wires, causing electrical outages, and their urine may corrode the panels and frames. 

Pest damage is easily avoided by routinely inspecting the panels. Remove any nests, and consider installing wire guards to keep them from going underneath the panels if necessary. 


Microcracks are the most common damage to solar panels. Most cracks can result from thermal cycling, the repetitive expansion and contraction caused by temperature fluctuations. 

Cleaning your modules with water when it’s hot outside will worsen this, such as doing your cleaning during midday. 

Dynamic or cyclic pressure loads can be caused by wind and storms. These conditions may cause twisting or bending or exert a pressing force on the surface. These factors can cause mechanical stresses in your solar panels’ glass layer. 

These are just a few factors that can result in microcracks. 

If microcracks aren’t addressed, they can spread, the glass may flake, and your panels will have compromised moisture and water resistance. This can be dangerous and cause several issues. 

If delamination occurs, this can cause short circuits and internal corrosion, which would require professional replacement. Water conducts electricity and can cause the panel to go live and electrocute anyone who touches it.

While the cracks cannot be repaired, there are methods of dealing with the problems they cause.

There are two inexpensive methods of dealing with micro cracks.

Laminating Film to Repair Microcracks

A transparent laminating film can be applied using a heat gun and a squeegee to spread the laminate film evenly and remove any bubbles or folds. The heat gun fuses it to the panel’s surface, making it waterproof again. Since the transparent film doesn’t block sunlight, the module can still harness the sun’s energy

Painting With Polyurethane or Waterproof Resins

Painting the panels with polyurethane is another inexpensive solution. Quick-drying polyurethane is applied, and a squeegee is used to spread it evenly. Once dry, it’s transparent and waterproof, similar to laminating film. 

If you have microcracks and are unsure how to fix them, it may be best to contact a trained professional for help. 

Loose Connections or Faulty Wiring

If you have noticed the efficiency of your solar panels has dropped, and they’re clean, you may have faulty wiring. 

You can test for this by connecting a multimeter to measure the voltage resistance. If the resistance is lower than expected, there’s a short circuit. If you’re unsure in any way, it may be best to contact a professional. 

You should also visually examine the electrical connections for loose or burnt connections as part of your routine maintenance. You can ask your professional maintenance people to check the connections when they clean your panels. 

Often, improper installation is the cause of a short circuit rather than a manufacturer defect since they’re tested before being shipped. However, as modules age, temperature fluctuations, wind, weather, or animals can also knock connections loose, causing short circuits. 

DIY electrical work isn’t recommended since it can result in electrical shock or even death. You should seek professional help if you suspect electrical problems. Burnt connections are often a sign of faulty installation, so consider hiring someone different to fix it. 

Broken Panels From Severe Weather or Falling Objects

While PV glass is designed to resist strong winds and most hailstorms, sometimes panels can be broken. 

This damage is often caused by tree limbs falling on them or sometimes from accidental impact from golf balls, baseballs, and occasionally vandalism. 

Physical damage can also occur from humidity, freezing, and ice if moisture enters microcracks and expands, making them much worse and harder to repair. 

Other physical damage can occur from snow or hail. Most snow slides off the panels easily enough. However, consider installing snow guards to prevent damage if you live in a region with exceptionally heavy snowfall. 

If you live in an area prone to severe hailstorms (think golf ball size), there are steps you can take to protect your system

Hurricanes can also break panels, twist frames, and loosen wires. If you prepare for hurricanes before they land, you can often prevent damage. 

Finally, direct lightning strikes are relatively rare, but the power surges they can cause are much more common. Installing surge protectors can help.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair Solar Panels?

The average solar panel repair cost is $750 (USD) but can range from $120 to $3,000.

Solar panel cleaning and maintenance costs are around $8 – 25 (USD) per panel, or $500-700 annually, depending on a few factors, such as how many panels you have. 

Is Repairing Solar Panels an Effective Solution?

Minor damage to your PVs can be repaired, and that panel can go on to be used for the rest of its expected lifespan

However, if panels or glass are broken, you are better off replacing them. While new glass can be applied, replacing them with new modules is cheaper in the long run.

In the end, regularly maintaining and cleaning your panels is the best way to prevent most damage in the first place. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Easy to Repair Solar Panels?

How feasible it is to repair damaged solar panels comes down to the type and extent of the damage they’ve sustained. Some issues can be fixed by trained professionals, but in some cases, damage can be severe enough to warrant the panel being replaced. 

Final Thoughts

Most well-made solar panels should last a very long time. However, improper installation, thermal cycling, severe weather, damage from pests, and other unforeseen circumstances can sometimes necessitate repair or replacement.

Routine cleaning and maintenance and dealing with problems as soon as they arise are the best ways to ensure that your panels will last for their expected lifetime. It will also help make repairs more likely to succeed if you deal with minor damage before it becomes major. 

Buying quality solar panels built by reputable companies like the high-quality EcoFlow solar panels and having your equipment installed by certified professionals will help ensure that the need for repairs is kept to a minimum.

EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.

Share this article

Thanks for joining us!
A surprise is waiting for you in your inbox.
Please check your email.

Popular posts


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here