How Much Do Solar Panels Weigh?

Posted 10 months ago by Manual Thomas

We live in a world that is constantly changing. 

New technologies and innovations are being developed every day, which has led to a rapid increase in the number of people who use solar panels for their energy needs. 

Solar panels have been used by humans since ancient times, but it wasn’t until recently that they became an affordable option for most homes and businesses.

In this article, we will explore how much do solar panels weigh so you can determine if they are right for your home or business.

So, without further ado let’s go into details.

How Big Are Solar Panels?

Solar panels can be found in many shapes and forms, but most solar panels — about 85 percent — look like giant squares that rotate to follow the sun. 

You’ve probably seen them on top of houses and buildings. The average size of a solar panel is 34-36 inches by 56-72 inches,  but the total area of all solar panels does not need to be equivalent.

The size of commercial solar modules is slightly greater. 78 inches by 39 inches, or 6.5 feet by 3.25 feet, is the standard size. 

Related Article: How Much Roof Area For Solar Panels?

Solar Panel Weight

Solar panels are pretty sturdy since the materials they’re made of are strong and lightweight.

On average, a solar panel’s weight can vary from 30 to 50 pounds per panel for thin-film types. 

The most popular crystalline silicon types weigh between 40 and 80 pounds.

Related Article: Can I Add More Solar Panels to My System?

What Makes a Solar Panel Heavy?

  • Tempered cover glass: Tempered glass is five times stronger than regular glass and can shatter into small pieces when broken.
  • Rigid aluminum frame: Aluminum is anodized to prevent corrosion, which makes it a strong material for the frames.
  • Solar cells: Solar panels rely on semiconductor solar cells made from crystalline silicon or thin-film technology.
  • Back sheets: Back sheets provide protection and support to solar panels. It’s a plastic film that covers the back of the panel.
  • Under-glass micro cables: These connect solar cells in series within a module; they add additional weight.
  • Aluminum frame: Aluminum frames support solar panels and protect the back sheets.
  • Encapsulation foil:  This foil protects the back sheet and is usually made of polyimide (a polymer film used in electrical insulation, structural adhesives, and micro-encapsulation).
  • Encapsulation resin: This makes up most of a solar panel’s volume. It also protects cells from weathering effects such as corrosion, cracking, and rotting.
  • Metal inter: This is a thin sheet of aluminum that’s used to connect solar cells within modules.
  • Junction box:  This attaches a solar panel to a roof or the ground.
  • Microinverters: These are used when there are multiple solar panels. So instead of one central inverter that
  • Back sheet: This plastic film protects the other components in solar panels.

Related Article: How Are Solar Panels Installed On Tile Roof?

Is Your Roof Capable of Supporting a Solar Panel?

Solar panels are not that heavy, but you should know if your roof can support the weight of solar panels before buying them.

Generally, concrete-based roofs can hold up to 4.4 pounds per square foot, metal roofs can hold about 5 to 9 pounds, asphalt shingles about 14 pounds, and clay tiles between 18 to 30 pounds.

Also, Glass-based roofs can carry up to 15 pounds per square foot.

To install solar panels on your roof, you will need additional equipment such as racks, clamps, and rails. Fortunately, most of these are less than 100 pounds.

Related Article: Can I Put Solar Panels on My Pergola?

Is There a Way to Reduce Weight?

The weight is not so much an issue if you’re installing solar panels on a new roof. 

However, this may be a concern and it’s something to look into if you’re planning to install your solar panels atop an existing rooftop.

Generally, the most practical way of reducing the weight is by adding support structures, or racks that hold up the panels. 

You can also use lighter components such as plastic instead of glass.

Related Article: Can You Put Solar Panels On A Shake Roof?

How to Determine the Strength of a Roof?

Many solar energy companies offer free roof evaluations to tell you if your roof is suited for solar panels.

If you are not sure about the strength of your roof, hire an expert who can help you find out if there are any weak points where cracks have formed over time.

The most important thing is to ensure that your solar power system can handle the weight of solar panels.

If you are buying solar panels for your home, then you’ll need to consider where the solar panel will be mounted since this can affect how much it weighs.

Generally, if a system has many components, it will require more powerful roof mounting options to avoid damaging the roof. 

Also, keep in mind that solar panels are made of glass and aluminum, which is lightweight but can be relatively heavy once the components are added together.

When weighing all options for mounting your solar power system to your roof, make sure you choose one that’s sturdy enough to handle the weight of the panels.

Related Article: Can you put solar panels on a metal roof?

Can the Solar Panels Damage Your Roof?

There are many types of roofs, but most are strong enough to hold the weight of solar panels.

If there are any weak points on your roof, cracks may form over time after installing solar panels since they add additional weight.

You should know that there is no scientific evidence showing whether or not the weight of solar panels causes roofs to break down more often than if they weren’t installed.

“The real danger of putting too much weight on a weak surface is that during a storm or other strong weather event, your roof might not be able to handle the sudden additional weight of water. 

That could lead to more damage on top of the already existing damages.”

“Please also keep in mind that if you are choosing an installation method that requires drilling through your roof, there is the possibility of leakage or further damage. 

If you are unsure, ask your solar installation provider to send someone experienced with installing their systems on your type of roof.”

So you can rest assured that in most cases, it’s safe to put solar panels on your roof. 

However, if there is already damage or weak spots where cracks have formed over time, then you should consider how much weight the roof can handle.

Related Article: Do Solar Panels Damage Roof?

Are Solar Panel Weights Likely to Change in the Future?

In recent years, there has been a focus on developing new materials that are lighter weight and stronger to reduce the overall weight of solar panels.

For example, Tesla’s Solar Roof is made up of glass tiles with integrated solar cells. 

Also, Amonix makes thin plastic solar cells that can be used for rooftop applications where metal sheets were traditionally used.

There is also a type of solar panel that uses lighter-weight glass instead of the more expensive and heavier silicon solar cells.

These developments promise to make it easier to install solar panels on rooftops in the future.

Last Words

When installing solar panels on your roof, you need to consider the weight of each panel based upon how many there are and what type of mounting system you’ll use.

Most roofs can hold the weight of one or two solar panels, but if you’re considering more than this, then make sure your roof is strong enough to handle it.

We hope you enjoyed this article as much as we did.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below.

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Manual Thomas