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Old 12-08-2022, 03:53 PM   #1
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Solar cells

While on the roof mounting my cell booster antenna, I cleaned of the 2 factory solar panels. Some of the cells in each looked like this. Is that normal, or are some of the cells damaged/going bad? It is under the glass.
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Old 12-12-2022, 09:47 PM   #2
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It's hard to tell from the image, but it looks like there may have been some contamination during the manufacturing of the panel, which is causing delamination of the layers.
A solar panel is made up of at least 4 layers of material and relies on a relatively clean assembly area. Not a bunny suit clean area, just one that doesn't have a lot of crap in the air, or contaminants falling off of the assemblers.
In a previous life, I was a manufacturing engineer for solar panels (Transform Solar - company went out of business in 2012) and there were process issues that would cause air to be trapped in between the cells. Those panels were never allowed out of the facility.
From the picture, it looks like the layers are starting to separate where the bubbles are. I wonder if one of the layers had a wrinkle in it, where the assembler accidentally folded the material and then tried to straighten it out. It may have looked ok, but the crease was in the material so the panel failed later. Eventually the panels will fail, but before that, they will become a lot less efficient.
Typical solar panels have a planned life expectancy of 25 years.
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Old 12-12-2022, 10:11 PM   #3
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I would agree, they should not look like that. Do you have a shunt meter on your batteries or means of measuring output from your solar panels? You will see a decrease in output to your batteries if the panel is actually damaged.
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Old 12-13-2022, 08:03 AM   #4
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I only have the factory 100wx2 panels. I don't boondock more than parking lot overnights. They still seem to be doing fine at 10 years old. Both panels have similar cells in them.
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