With the arrival of spring, solar panel installations increase. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, since 2010, the average cost of solar panels has dropped more than 60% and the cost of a solar electric system has dropped by about 50%. As the costs continually decrease– combined with the availability of Federal tax credits– installing a PV array is no longer a luxury.
Even as the costs to go solar continually decrease, a homeowner can expect to pay approximately $25,000 for a 10kW solar panel system. To keep the system in top shape, preventive maintenance and protection is required. A poorly maintained and unprotected array can not only reduce its efficiency, but yield unforeseen risks that may require expensive repairs.
VULNERABILITIES OF UNPROTECTED SOLAR PANELS
The tops of solar panels are engineered to repel impacts; however, many people don’t realize that the space underneath the panels is susceptible to damage. If left unskirted, these types of damages may occur:
Damage from Animals and Rodents
Birds and rodents find protection from extreme weather and predators within the area underneath solar panels. As they maneuver under the panels, they can scratch the panels which can result in a malfunction of one or multiple panels.
Damage from Pooling Water
Nests, bird droppings, and windblown debris (leaves, plastic bags, pine needles, etc.) can allow rainwater or melting snow to pool. If the water is allowed to sit, leaks or roof rot can result.
Damage from Exposed Wiring
If rodents have gnawed on the wires, an individual panel or the entire array may short circuit. In extreme cases, arcing wires may ignite any windblown debris that has accumulated.
EXPANDED METAL TO PROTECT SOLAR PANELS
Skirting made from expanded metal provides optimal protection for solar panels. Formed from a solid sheet of metal, expanded metal offers a superior strength-to-weight ratio that effectively keeps out animals and windblown debris. Manufactured from corrosion-resistant materials such as aluminum or galvanized steel, it will stand up to the elements. It can also be powder coated, painted, or even formed into decorative patterns to complement existing architectural elements– all of which and more are featured in the Solar Panels info sheet.
HOW WALLNER EXPAC CAN HELP
For close to 60 years, Wallner Expac has been listening to industry representatives and partnering with them to create solutions. We have the proven knowledge and skills to design and manufacture expanded metal for multiple industries and specialized applications. With five global manufacturing plants, state-of-the-art tool room and an on-site Engineering and Design Team, we provide a full range of creative and metal forming services.
For more information or to request a copy of the Solar Panels info sheet, contact Manuel Menchaca, Sr. Marketing Manager via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or dial 909.481.8800.back to all news