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Broken glass solar panel (mistake)?
#11
(09-06-2017, 11:29 PM)Chris Evans Wrote: Hi all, 

I may have made a slightly knee jerk/silly decision today. I've bought 16 320W solar panels from a gumtree seller, all with broken glass. £25 a pop. I actually haggled and got them for £350, but that's besides the point. Have I made a mistake????

My rationale is, I have no solar panels at the moment to speak of, and I've got theoretical 5.1kW of panels for the price of 1 new perfect one? I know i'll more than likely get no where near 5kW but I thought it was worth a bash at fixing them up. Resin or varnish maybe?? Has anyone got any suggestions?

Worth noting I picked the panels with good 38V on the meter when in the sunshine and left the others.

Cheers, 

Chris

Nice find - just a couple of years ago, while in Colorado, I had hail damage which cracked a dozen of my older panels.   I just covered the broken glass with new pieces and siliconed them in place along the edges (like a fish tank)......   Personally, I like working with glass, but you must be careful - and it is time consuming.  

After testing the panels and verifying the integrity of the unit, I'd just put new glass right on top of the old glass (cut to the correct size) and silicone the edges - although the broken glass cracks would show through visually, this would strengthen and make it water tight again.  Yeah, i know, it won't have be 100% efficiency, but it should certainly good for backup panels if you have the space.   It depends on the number of cracks, etc.

I have found that varnish and other items can yellow over time.  I am not sure about this particular panel, but to remove the old glass and replace would take a fair bit of time, and time is expensive.   Plus, you may actually damage the cells during glass removal process.
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#12
(09-07-2017, 02:55 PM)Al Wrote: This guy made a fairly clear video about the process.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rJayaz3G1k&t=81s


Exterior varnish works well and isn't too expensive. Best applied with a gloss roller (not a fluffy roller) but will take over a week to dry fully. I went for just one coat, but may try 2 thinner coats next time. I've not managed to find an exterior varnish which is completely clear, they seem to have a yellowy tint to the finish.

Cleaning them thoroughly before applying the varnish is a must. The cleaner the better, then hoover off any loose bits, then varnish. Doing this outside may attract a lot of bugs which could get stuck into the varnish.  

While the initial cost of the panels is low, once you factor in the cost of varnish and the time to apply it, then factor in the life-span of the panels (I'm guessing 5 years or so compared to 25+ for unbroken ones) the saving is still there, but less significant.

I went for cracked panels because of cost, my entire solar budget is less than the cost of just new panels.

Try it and see. at that price it's a gamble worth taking!

I used this varnish by the way.

http://www.wood-finishes-direct.com/prod...ht-varnish

I repaired  a 100 watt panel using the method and product in this vid. Seems to have worked ok
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