How Much Does a Solar Panel Weigh?

Written by John Ho on February 26, 2021

As more and more houses have been moving to the solar energy ecosystem. The installation and usage of solar panels have taken a huge jump. In this regard, a lot of people have complained about getting roof leaks in their houses. These roof leaks are triggered due to several factors. Sometimes, they could also be caused due to the type of roof.

But, the major reason for these roof penetrations is usually that the roof can't withhold the hefty weight of the solar panels. For this reason, you should always keep the weight of the solar panels you are installing in your mind before you get them to your roof.

The issue of the weight of solar panels is usually not there when you are mounting them into the ground, but the weight factor should always be considered when the installation is on a rooftop.

So further in the article, let us take a look into how much does a solar panel weighs? And why is it important?

The actual weight of a solar panel

There are various things that make up the total weight of a solar panel. From the solar cells of the solar panel to the quality of materials and glass used during the manufacturing process. With that said, it is pretty self-explanatory that all solar panels would definitely not weigh the same because there different types of solar panels that are made from different materials. Like monocrystalline solar panels are made up of materials different from which amorphous solar panels are made from.

Just to put things in perspective, a solar panel can weigh somewhere from 30 pounds to 50 pounds depending on the materials used during the manufacturing process. The glass used in the solar panel adds the major weight to the solar panel, otherwise, the solar cells used are really lightweight.

Distribution of a solar panel

To know what makes up the total weight of a solar panel, it is essential to learn all the materials that are involved in making up the complete assembly of a solar panel.

There are a lot of glass and thin sheets involved in a solar panel. The sheets are of two different types, one is an EVA ( ethylene vinyl acetate ) sheet and the other are polyvinyl fluoride sheets. Solar cells are sandwiched between these two types of sheets and the glass.

The weight of the solar cells which help in extracting solar energy only adds about a few grams to the weight of the solar panel. So why do solar panels weigh a lot more than a few grams? Well, most of the weight of a solar panel comes from the glass, and the aluminum frame used on the outside of the solar panel.

Types of solar panels and their weights

There are many variations of solar panels, and the weights of each of these variations differ from each other. So to get a clear picture of all these different types of panels and their weights, you can read about them, below.

Monocrystalline solar panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient kind of solar panels to be found right now. The primary reason for their high efficiency is that they are cut from a single source of silicon. These solar panels also cost the highest.

Coming to the weight of monocrystalline solar panels, they are not that lightweight. A monocrystalline solar panel could weigh around 33 and 50 pounds, which is not great news if you want to mount them on a beat-up roof.

Polycrystalline solar panels

Polycrystalline solar panels are another commonly used type of solar panel. These solar panels are not as efficient as monocrystalline solar panels due to the fact that they have much different crystal silicon in each cell unlike monocrystalline solar panels, which use the same crystal silicon. But the major reason that they are so widely adopted is that their prices are a lot less than that of monocrystalline solar panels.

The weight of polycrystalline solar panels is more or less the same as monocrystalline solar panels. A single panel can weigh anywhere from 33 pounds to 50 pounds.

Thin-film solar panels

Thin-film solar panels as suggested by their name, are extremely thin sheets of solar panels that convert light energy into electrical energy. As far as the efficiency part is concerned, thin-film solar panels are the least efficient type of solar panels. They are definitely not a good option for anyone who is looking for high efficiency from their solar panels. But there is one significant advantage that thin-film solar panels have over both monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels, and that is their extremely lightweight structure. They have very little weight, and also do not require any aluminum frame. Just thing sheets are laid out separately on the floor.

Roofs and solar panels

Usually, roofs are capable of holding much more weight than what solar panels weigh. But, this is not the case with every roof. Some roofs are old and weak and can't hold the weight of solar panels. The same is the case with dated metal roofs, they catch rust which makes them feeble and thus they succumb to the heavyweight of the solar panels.

The best advice that I have for you if you also have an old and weakened roof is that you should get it looked at by a solar installation expert. An expert would give you their opinion of whether your roof will be able to withstand the solar panel sheet. If the solar panel installing expert is skeptical about it, then you should surely not install any heavy-duty solar panels on your roof. One thing that you can do in this situation is that if there is a possibility, installing solar panels on the ground might be a better option. However, since most houses do not have a front area or backyard that big, the chances of using this idea are pretty thin. What you can instead do here is that first get the roof repaired and strengthened out, then install solar panels so there are no chances of any roof damage.

An alternative to repairing old roofs

It certainly is not possible for everyone to get their roofs fixed before moving to a solar energy ecosystem. Fixing and repairing is surely not a cheap process, and could also take weeks if not months. Most people do not have that much time on their hands, and would not want to go through the hassle. Especially when they are living in the same house. So there is an alternative solution for you if getting your roof repaired did not seem like a viable option for you. And that alternative is that you should not install heavy solar panel systems on your roof then, instead you should go for lightweight panels. They would have the same efficiency as heavy panels and will not end up damaging your roof because of their less weight. The best lightweight solar panels you can look into are thin-film solar panels, they weigh a lot less than the other type of solar panels. A lot of homeowners in the US also prefer using them since they are not on the bulky side and just get the job done.

FAQs

Here are most frequently asked questions.

Summary

As more and more houses have begun adopting solar energy living, the spaces for installation of solar panels have become a concern. And the best place where most people hedge their eyes for solar panel installation in their houses is the roof for a number of reasons. Firstly, roofs are not that often used and no one even goes to their roof all year long. And installing solar panels on roofs is not obtrusive at all. Also, the roof of a house receives the most sunlight than any other part of a house. All these reasons pose roofs as a really great place for installing solar panels. But, then again, not all roofs can hold heavy solar panels so options like doing reinforcement or going with thin-film solar panels are great on those roofs.

Article written by John Ho

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