Golf Balls & Solar Panels: How Strong Are They?

If you live near a golf course, you may be asking whether a golf ball can break your solar panels. Damaged solar panels may not be able to power your home as well, if at all, so this is a vital question to explore.

Here we answer your questions on the strength and durability of solar panels.

Here are some of the things we’ll look at;

  • Can a golf ball cause serious damage to your solar PV system?
  • How strong is a solar panel?
  • What is a solar panel made of?
  • How can you protect your solar panels from impact?

You’ll be very relieved to know just how resilient your solar panels can be. Read on as I delve into this common concern in depth.

Damaged solar panel cracked glass

Can a Golf Ball Break Your Solar Panels?

The impact of a golf ball landing on your solar panels would be insignificant. These panels are built to withstand high impact, but they can crack the glass.

Should a golf ball hit the panel at a right angle and with tremendous force, there could be minor cracks and breakage. This would result in decreased performance of the panels.

Let’s assume you live near a golf course. You might be worried about golf balls frequently hitting your solar panel investment and reducing your energy generation capacity.

While this could happen, the chance of the impact being enough to break your panels is unlikely.

Now, I’m not suggesting that it couldn’t and hasn’t happened before. So, follow me as I cover some of the key factors you should know about solar panels and their robust construction.

the Resilience of Your Solar Panels

Any machines, gadgets, or equipment that you have to position outside a building without overhead protection are subject to the elements. This could include your bike, vehicle, as well as your solar panel system.

More often than not, solar panels are located on the roof of a building to give them maximum sun exposure. As you would guess, this puts them at risk of weather damage.

When solar panels are manufactured, their function and positioning are all important considerations that are incorporated into the design.

With this in mind, you can rest assured knowing that these photovoltaic (PV) cells can handle high impact and extreme weather.

If you are still somewhat concerned about golf balls from a neighbor or nearby golf club hitting your panels, stay with me.

You would be right to wonder and question just how strong solar panels really are. After all, they are made of glass and look quite delicate, don’t they?

Solar Panel Design

Despite how fragile your solar PV system may look, it is actually very sturdy. Solar PV is built to last and perform its function well. Allow me to walk you through some of the most important parts of their construction.

There are several different elements that go into solar panels. You might find some variations, depending on the supplier, scale, and technology in place.

A few of the main components are:

  • Silicon,
  • Metal, and
  • Glass.

The most important components are the solar cells, which capture the Sun’s energy. Traditionally, these were made of silicon, which acts as a semiconductor.

These days, there are other variations too, including organic PV and thin-film semiconductor materials such as cadmium telluride.

The metal component of the panels is very often aluminum, and this makes up the thick frame that keeps all the other components together.

Finally, there is the glass which forms the upper and outer layer of the panels. Tempered glass is used to protect the solar cells. The typical thickness for this casing can be around 7 millimeters.

The tempered glass or toughened glass provides additional safety and protection to the panels.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

The typical lifespan of quality solar panels is 25 years or more. As you would expect, the expected lifespan may be a lot less if the solar panels were cheaper and of poorer quality.

I also have to mention that most conventional solar panels have a warranty period of around 10 years. This means that if there happens to be extreme damage or cracks forming, you are covered for a long time.

How Much Impact Can a Solar Panel Withstand?

Although glass is not the strongest material around, it is required for solar panels as it is transparent and can let the Sun’s rays through without hindrance.

Tempered glass is fit for purpose in solar panels and goes through extensive testing to ensure it can withstand high impact. Most good quality panels have been approved for heavy weather, including large, fast-moving hailstones.

Your typical solar panels are tested for up to hail about the size of a golf ball moving at 50mph. This fact should give you confidence in the resilience of your panels.

If your solar panels are hit by a fast-moving golf ball moving perpendicularly to the panel, which is unlikely, you might see cracks and damage. Should this happen, the panels will still produce power, but at a reduced capacity.

Tips to Mitigate the Risk of Solar Panels Breaking from Impact

Even with the sturdiest design and best quality solar panels, it’s essential that you explore some of the ways to reduce the risk of breakage.

If your solar panels aren’t up yet, you can consider the best place to locate them where they are least likely to be impacted.

The ideal positioning would be away from the direction where golf balls are most likely to come from. It would be best to inform your installation contractors about the situation and your concerns before they get to work.

Choosing good-quality solar panels is also crucial. You want to invest in something that will last you for years.

If your solar panels are already in place, there isn’t too much you can do. You might need to have a discussion with your neighbors if golf balls landing on your roof become a regular occurrence.

If golf balls are landing in your yard, they have the possibility of landing on your roof. At this point, it would be best to speak to the golf club to avoid them paying compensation.

Golf clubs often erect netting around the course to prevent damaging the neighbor’s properties – this is a possible solution.

Besides the potential impact on your solar panels, there is the risk of damage to your other property and injury to people and animals as well to think about.

One other suggestion I would give is to familiarize yourself with the terms of your warranty and home insurance.

It’s always good to have a rough idea of the terms and conditions as well as the duration. Knowing how much coverage you have and for how long can give you peace of mind.

Although a golf ball can move at high velocity, it is unlikely that it would cause any damage to your solar panels.

These panels are built to withstand high impact and have a layer of tempered glass that can last for decades in regions where hailstorms are more common.

Sources

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