Can You Walk On Solar Panels?

If you want to move around on a roof with solar panels, the question often arises…

Can you walk on solar panels? After all, you don’t want to break them, as they cost a fortune to replace.

Should You Walk On Solar Panels?

In general, you should avoid walking on solar panels for a variety of reasons. You can damage the glass, damage the mounting, create small cracks you can’t see, or you could slide off them.

Solar panels are designed to withstand the elements (sun, rain, snow, hail, debris), however, their overall weight-bearing capacity is limited. After all, although they are made with a metal frame, they are mostly made of either thin plastic or glass, which are not known for their structural abilities!

So, unless there is absolutely no alternative, you should not walk on your solar panels.

Some experts manage to do it with a huge amount of experience, the right shoes, and sometimes even weight distribution devices. But the average Joe should just go around them.

How Strong Are Solar Panels?

The first thing to consider if you want to walk on solar panels is they have a limited weight capacity. And they are often mounted above the roof or ground, which further weakens their capacity. Compared to say having them flat on the ground, which might distribute the load more.

The capacity of a solar panel is actually measured in terms of its wind capacity. This makes sense, as they are designed to handle the elements, not have things placed on them, or you walking on them.

On average, solar panels have a capacity between 2000-5000 Pascals of maximum wind load.

To put that in context, a human step delivers a load of 55,000 Pascals, which exceeds the design of a solar panel significantly.

So, in essence, solar panels are not designed with walking on them in mind.

Cracks In A Solar Panel

Another issue with walking on solar panels is that you can crack the plastic or glass.

These cracks are sometimes not even visible to the human eye, so it may lead you to think you are doing no damage.

However, if you damage the cell it may no longer generate power, or in the worst case, might even disrupt the flow of electricity between cells – which leads to even more power loss.

If You Must Walk On Solar Panels

Before we go any further, I want to state that I DO NOT recommend you walk on solar panels under any circumstances.

However, here are some tips from some professionals and others on Quora who have done so in the past:

  • try to walk on the frame not the center where you are most likely to break it
  • keep in mind they are slippery
  • spread the load if possible
  • wear very clean rubber sole shoes, like tennis shoes (small stones can crack the glass easily)

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