Replacing or Repairing Damaged Solar Panels

Replacing or Repairing Damaged Solar Panels

Understanding what to do when faced with a damaged solar panel is vital for every solar system owner. Damages can not only compromise the efficiency of your solar panels but also pose potential safety risks.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the immediate actions to take, how to assess whether you’re covered under warranty, and what the replacement process entails.

Immediate Action: Turning Off Your Solar System Safely

If you notice any damage to your solar panels, the first and foremost step is to safely turn off your solar system. This is crucial to prevent any electrical hazards that may arise. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Locate the Solar Inverter: Typically found near your electricity meter box, the solar inverter is the device that converts solar energy to electricity.
  2. Turn Off the DC Isolator: Switch off the DC isolator located next to the inverter to cut off the solar panel’s connection to the system.
  3. Turn Off the AC Isolator: To completely isolate the inverter, also switch off the AC isolator.
  4. Check the System: Confirm that all lights and indicators on the inverter are off, indicating the system is safely shut down.

Once the system is turned off, it’s crucial to contact a professional for an assessment of the damage. Never attempt to fix or touch the damaged solar panels yourself.

Common Causes Of Panel Damage

If you’re not sure what caused your damage, her are some common damage that can be caused to panels:

  • Physical Damage: This includes impact from hail, fallen tree branches, windborne debris, or even vandalism.
  • Micro-Cracks: These tiny fractures in the solar cells can occur due to thermal expansion and contraction, or rough handling during installation.
  • Snail Trails: Discoloration lines that appear on the panels, usually a result of moisture entering micro-cracks.
  • Hot Spots: Overheating in a particular area due to shade or debris causing energy to be redirected, which can damage the cells.
  • PID (Potential Induced Degradation): Occurs when the panel’s voltage, temperature, and humidity conditions lead to a loss in power output.
  • Delamination: The peeling away of the protective layer from the solar cells, often due to moisture ingress.
  • Corrosion: Caused by exposure to salty or humid air, affecting the aluminium frames or even the cells themselves.
  • Inverter Failures: Not a panel issue per se, but inverter problems can prevent the system from converting DC to AC, essentially rendering the panels useless.
  • Connector Issues: Loose or damaged connectors can interrupt the flow of electricity between panels and the inverter.

Understanding Warranties

Before taking any further steps, it’s essential to determine if your solar panel’s damage is covered under warranty. Understanding what is and isn’t covered can save you both time and money.

Common Types of Damage Covered

Warranties usually cover manufacturing defects, underperformance below guaranteed levels, and sometimes even micro-cracks that have occurred during manufacturing. Specific brands such as Sungrow have their own warranty terms, so it’s worth consulting the documentation for details.

Common Types of Damage Not Covered

Typically, warranties do not cover damage arising from environmental factors like hail or flooding, mechanical damage from falling objects, or accidental damage due to vandalism. Wear and tear due to age, as well as issues caused by electrical surges or lightning strikes, are also generally not covered.

It’s advisable to review your warranty details in depth to see if you’re covered.

Insurance and Other Coverage Options

If your solar panel damage isn’t covered under warranty, it’s not necessarily the end of the road. Even if you didn’t specifically include your solar system in your existing home and contents insurance, it’s worth reaching out to your insurer.

Many policies cover accidental and environmental damage to permanent fixtures in your home, which often include solar panels. Give them a call to discuss the specifics of the damage and see if your current policy can offer any coverage for the repair or replacement costs.

This step could potentially save you significant out-of-pocket expenses, so it’s worth taking the time to explore this avenue.

Evaluating the Damage & Deciding Next Steps

After you’ve safely turned off your system and explored your coverage options, your next course of action is to schedule a professional assessment. Contact Arkana Energy’s Australian customer support, and you can get a quote for one of our CEC-accredited installers to visit your property. They’ll evaluate whether the damaged panel can be repaired or needs to be replaced.

Once the assessment is complete, you’ll receive a quote outlining the repair or replacement costs. This quote can be forwarded to you, your insurance provider, or the manufacturer if the panel is still under warranty. Having this quote enables you to make an informed decision on the next steps.

Product Selection and Compatibility

It’s worth noting that the exact make and model of your original panels may no longer be available. This could have aesthetic implications if the new panel doesn’t match the existing ones. More importantly, adding a different type or brand of panel to a string could affect the performance of the entire system. Therefore, our CEC-accredited installers will ensure that the new panel is compatible with your existing setup to maintain optimal performance.

General Costs

Replacing even a single damaged panel can incur significant costs due to labour and service fees. For instance, a single panel could cost between $300-$600, plus electrician fees ranging from $100-$200 per hour. If you’re dealing with multiple damaged panels, such as 20 or more, the cost could escalate dramatically.

Being aware of these elements will help you better understand the financial and technical considerations involved in replacing damaged solar panels.

Get an assessment of your panel damage and quote for repairs/replacement

Get a quote

The “Do Nothing” or Partial Removal Option

While it may sound counterintuitive, doing nothing is also an option, especially if the damaged panel doesn’t pose a safety risk and you can tolerate a minor drop in your system’s overall performance. However, it’s essential to consult with a CEC-accredited installer to understand the implications for your specific system.

Alternatively, you might consider just removing the damaged panel(s) while leaving the rest of the system in place. This can be a viable option if you’re facing financial constraints or if the damaged panel isn’t severely impacting the performance of the entire system. Keep in mind that this could have aesthetic implications and may require some adjustments to your system to ensure it operates efficiently without the removed panel(s).

Both these options come with their own set of pros and cons, so it’s crucial to consult professionals for tailored advice.

The Replacement Process

Once you have a professional assessment and a cost estimate, you’re well-prepared to take the next step: the actual replacement of the damaged panel(s).

  1. Scheduling: After confirming the quote, an appointment for the replacement will be scheduled at a time that’s convenient for you.
  2. Replacement: Arkana Energy’s CEC-accredited installers will arrive at your property to carry out the replacement. They’ll remove the damaged panel(s) and install the new one(s), ensuring they integrate seamlessly with your existing system.
  3. Time and Cost: A typical replacement takes about 2-4 hours, depending on the extent of the damage and the complexity of your solar system. This will incur labour costs in addition to the cost of the panel.
  4. Final Testing: After the replacement, the installers will conduct rigorous testing to ensure that your new panel is operating optimally within your solar system.

You can expect a smooth and efficient replacement process, backed by Arkana Energy’s 25-Year Workmanship guarantee, ensuring peace of mind throughout.

Post-Replacement Steps

After your panel or panels have been successfully replaced, there are several important steps to ensure your system is running efficiently and to help prevent future issues.

  1. System Check: Our CEC-accredited installers will conduct a final system check to ensure everything is functioning correctly. They will confirm that the newly installed panel is fully integrated and that the system is generating power as expected.
  2. Documentation: Ensure that all warranty and other relevant documents for the new panel are in order. Keep these in a safe place for future reference.
  3. Maintenance Tips: Being proactive about maintenance can save you a lot in the long term. Follow recommended guidelines for cleaning your panels and carrying out periodic system checks to identify and address any minor issues before they become major problems.
  4. Monitoring: Check your inverter display or monitoring app for daily output and compare it to previous records. A green indicator light on the inverter generally means the system is operating well. Regularly review your monitoring data to ensure your system’s efficiency hasn’t been compromised.

By following these post-replacement steps, you’re setting yourself up for long-term solar success and optimizing the return on your investment.


Solar panel damage is a concern for any homeowner invested in renewable energy. Knowing the immediate steps to take, understanding your coverage options, and having a plan for repair or replacement are crucial. Whether you opt for complete replacement, repair, or even choose to do nothing, each choice comes with its own implications. The key is to act quickly and consult professionals for tailored advice.

With Arkana Energy, you have a reliable partner to guide you through the complexities of dealing with solar panel damage, ensuring that you continue to get the most out of your solar investment.

Get an assessment of your panel damage and quote for repairs/replacement

Get a quote