Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What Happens When You Shoot A Solar Panel???



I don't do as many educational events as I used to.  But, speaking to groups about solar energy occasionally did put me in the position of trying to field questions about solar panel durability; you know, hail, wind, bullets. 
 
There was often some jackass at the back of the room who would ask, "What happens if you shoot 'em?"

Like a lot of stuff, solar panels break when they are shot.

The warning signal at the Randolph/Pendleton County line on U.S. 33 between Harman and Seneca Rocks was disabled by somebody abusing their Second Amendment right several months ago.  Recently I noted that the shattered front glass on the module had weakened enough that wind was able to blow the entire assembly out of the aluminum frame. 




The sandwich of materials has pretty good adhesion even after being blown out of the aluminum frame.  By "sandwich" I am referring to the glass on top + silver circuits +  dark colored solar wafers + white tedlar backing.  The glass provides protection for the silicon wafers and circuitry that you can see above.  Most solar panels have glass that is rated to withstand the impact of 1" hail at 50 mph.  The glass accounts for the rigidity of the solar panel and much of its weight.





No more warning lights.  The blinking lights were powered by the solar equipment.  This is a no-joke descent with several hairpin curves and a couple of shear drop offs. 




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