People living near to sea, ocean, and other water bodies with high salt levels must have noticed that their electronic components and other electrical appliances need often repairing or deteriorate faster than the average.
The main culprit is Corrosion.
And it gets dominant under humid and salty conditions.
If I talk about solar panels, they will remain outside for decades facing humid air with high salt concentration all the time.
Imagine what damage CORROSION can do to your solar panels?
I’m going to discuss all about corrosion, its effects, how to deal with it, and the best solar panels that can withstand the negative effect of corrosion.
What is Corrosion?
It is the process of gradual destruction of the material by the chemical reaction with the surroundings.
In this, the metal slowly starts converting into its oxides, hydroxides, sulfides, or carbonates.
The most common example of corrosion that we experience in our daily lives is the rusting of iron.
Rust is a reddish-brown layer of iron oxide that is formed when iron comes in contact with air in the presence of moisture.
We see cars painted with beautiful colors around us.
It serves a dual purpose;
First, it makes the car attractive and we buy and second, it protects the car material steel (an alloy of iron and carbon) from rusting.
What damage Corrosion can do to your solar panels?
The highly corrosive wet atmosphere can degrade the performance of the solar panels over time.
It can corrode the metallic part of the solar panels and the non-metallic part may not function properly due to the assimilation of salt.
That means your solar panels would need frequent servicing and the output may fall more than average before time, affecting the return and the financial feasibility of the solar power system.
Both humidity and salt can cause damage to the solar panels.
The water in the air comes in contact with any metal reacts with it and starts damaging it by forming the metal oxide layer on its surface, and it is called corrosion of the metal.
In addition, the salts present like sodium chloride (NaCl) and magnesium chloride (MgCl₂) in the water contain acid that accelerates the corrosion process and the metal starts decaying faster.
It is not only the solar panels (solar cells, frame, and the mounting structure) but also the other electronic equipment like inverter, solar charge controller, wires, etc are at the risk of pre-mature decaying.
Loss of efficiency:
The salt present in the moisture gets accumulated over the glass surface of the solar panels, making it hard for them to absorb the sunlight and as a result, your electrical appliances run slow.
You need to clean the solar panels often to get rid of this.
The Solution: IEC-61701
You should look for solar panels that can withstand salty climatic conditions without affecting their output.
The solar panels are corrosion resistant and are vacuum-sealed, it prevents the salty water to penetrate the cells through the glass.
The solar panels that are suitable for humid and salty climates are the ones that are IEC- 61701 certified.
It is a useful test that determines the resistance of the solar panels towards salt and humidity.
The solar panels are subjected to salty conditions under this test and then their electrical output is checked.
If the output reduction of the panels is under the permissible limits specified by IEC, they pass the test and are certified as IEC 61701
We have 6 levels of certification.
The higher level shows a better tolerance towards corrosion.
If you’re living within 500-1000 meters from the seashore, your solar panels are more likely to face salty moisture-filled winds.
Therefore, it is better to look for solar panels with level 6 certification.
Best Solar panels for Wet and Salty Climate
The best solar panels for wet and salty climates are the ones with IEC-61701 certification.
Let me write few top manufactures that produce IEC-61701 certified solar panels:
The IEC -61701 certified solar panels have a frame made of anodized aluminium alloy, a highly corrosion-resistant material for salty conditions.
Anodizing is an electro-chemical process that creates a hard layer over the aluminium outer surface and protects it against corrosion.
If you’re living near a seashore and are planning a solar power system for smooth electricity then look for IEC-61701 certified panels.
The IEC-61701 certified solar panels are capable of producing smooth electricity under these conditions and can also help in improving the return from the solar power system.
How to remember this certification number?
First, ask yourself, what is my number 1 priority while choosing solar panels?
They should be corrosion resistant and IEC-61701 has 1 in its ones place.
The wet salty climatic conditions can also facilitate galvanic corrosion.
When 2 different metals come in contact with each other material in some saltwater conditions, leading to galvanic corrosion.
When the aluminium frame of the solar panel comes in contact with a corroded mounting frame, it will start eating the aluminium frame from the contact points.
Although the chances are thin this mistake can happen while installing the solar panels.
Therefore, look for experienced and reputed solar installers who understand this and execute the whole installation professionally.
I would be happy to hear about the performance of the solar panels from homeowners, living near the seashore and have installed solar power systems on their roofs.
Please share your experience in the comment section below.