Author Topic: Solar panel glass broken  (Read 4629 times)

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Doug1939

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Solar panel glass broken
« on: June 16, 2006, 01:31:06 PM »
One of my panels, has the glass broken, how? I am not sure...the panel is still producing, a solid 3 amps, but the glass is in 100s of small pieces...is it possible to replace the glass...The panel is an old Arco....Doug
« Last Edit: June 16, 2006, 01:31:06 PM by (unknown) »

Mike Cross

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Re: Solar panel glass broken
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2006, 08:19:05 AM »
To my knowledge there is no way to separate the broken glass.  The cells are stuck to it by an adesive membrane.  This membrane is to keep dust and moisture out.


I have made five "sucessful" attempts so far in saving this type of damage.


This is what I have done:


First check the out put of the open circuit of the affected panel alone in full sun.

If voltage is the rated output proceeed.  If it is below the amount to charge a battery it should be replaced.


After removing panel from the frame and laying flat on a work bench so it doesen't fall and break more.  It is now very fragile.  Some of the cells maybe fractured. You don't want to break more.


WEAR GLOVES, EYE AND FACE PROTECTION AGAINST FLYING BITS OF GLASS!!!



  1. vacuum (do not blow, the shattered shards will go everywhere like shrapnel) out the tiny glass and dust.
  2. wipe clean with a lint free wipe and a quick evaporating solvent, like acetone, (available anywhere paint is sold)
  3. Reseal panel. (do not just put glass or plastic over it. You will just trap moisture that will condense with cold, and air that will expand with heat and break your repair.
  4.  I have two methods of resealing the panel:


 First method: using  "Scotch Brand"  "package storage tape".  It seems to take the heat and the cold and remain clear.  (Do not use ordinary package tape it will come off after being in the weather and heat.}  Seal over the broken glass.  Then using "Liquid Nails Clear Silicone Sealer" it says on the tube:  "will not yellow" "will remain clear and flexalble for 50 years".  This is the only commonly available silcone sealer that says that.  I found all of these products in the paint and also in the stationary departments at Walmart.


Use the following proceedures:


In Shingle like fashsion layer the tape across the shortest dimension of the panel. If you go the longest demension it is hard to keep straight.  Then seal only the edges where the tape meets the frame.


Second method: Just carefully smooth on the Liquid Nails Silicone Sealer with a  

2 inch wide putty knife all over the broken glass as thin as possible with out leaving any open spaces. Don't use the tape.  Let dry in a horizontal position  in a clean dust free enviorment over night.


Again check output voltage.  If it is just a little lower due to the covering you have put over it ok. Should not be more than a half a volt difference. However you need to check it because a cell could have broken just by handling.


The tape method turns out clearer, looks better, easier to keep and is harder to do.  The silicone only method is easier, stronger, but is translucent.


I was able to save 5 out of eight panels.  2 of the panels had no voltage. They had holes right through the panel.  1 one of the panels had only six volts.  I am saving these for future experiments.


No promises, but if you can save an expensive panel for a few bucks it is better than discarding them to the trash.


Good luck

« Last Edit: June 16, 2006, 08:19:05 AM by Mike Cross »

tornado6

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Re: Solar panel glass broken
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2006, 02:12:04 AM »
Is it shattered or cracked?

If it is in 1,000's of mini cubes i would surmise that the heat pressure inside the panel imploded it.Happens to cars here in the south pretty frequently in the summer.

If you want an easier method of replacement can remove whatevers left of the glass,carefully clean your EVA laminate surface and glass that binds to the frame and simply replace it with plexiglass.Replacement glass tops from a manufacturer are 187$.Also can try and get glass cut to order from a glass place but again it will cost u almost the worth of the panel.Use plex from home depot 30$ and it is the same as the lo-iron glass.

Glass for panel tops is 100% hype.Its not necessary.For sealant you can use either 100% silicon or latex/silicon 25 year that u find at H.Depot.Either works.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2006, 02:12:04 AM by tornado6 »