How to Cover Solar Panels: A Comprehensive Guide

Covering solar panels is a crucial step in protecting your investment and ensuring optimal performance. By shielding your panels from physical damage, dust, and snow, you can maximize their efficiency and extend their lifespan. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key considerations and best practices for covering your solar panels effectively.

Material Selection: Balancing Durability and Transparency

The choice of material for your solar panel covers is a critical decision that will impact both the functionality and aesthetics of your system. The ideal material should be durable, transparent, and able to withstand various weather conditions. Let’s dive into the key characteristics of the most popular options:

  1. Tempered Glass: Tempered glass is a popular choice for solar panel covers due to its exceptional durability and high transparency. With a transparency level of 91%, tempered glass can effectively transmit sunlight while providing robust protection against hailstorms, high winds, and other physical impacts. It is also scratch-resistant and easy to clean, making it a low-maintenance option.

  2. Polycarbonate: Polycarbonate is a lightweight, shatter-resistant material that offers excellent transparency, typically ranging from 85% to 92%. It is highly resistant to UV radiation and can withstand extreme temperatures, making it a suitable choice for harsh environmental conditions. Polycarbonate covers are often more cost-effective than tempered glass.

  3. PET Film: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) film is a flexible, lightweight, and transparent material with a transparency level of around 85%. PET film is easy to install and can be custom-cut to fit your solar panels precisely. While it may not offer the same level of durability as tempered glass or polycarbonate, PET film is a budget-friendly option for protecting your panels.

When selecting the material, consider factors such as the local climate, potential weather hazards, and your budget. Tempered glass may be the most robust choice, but polycarbonate or PET film can also provide effective protection while being more cost-effective.

Measuring and Sizing the Covers

how to cover solar panels

Accurate measurements are crucial when selecting the right covers for your solar panels. Follow these steps to ensure a perfect fit:

  1. Measure the Solar Panel Dimensions: Carefully measure the length, width, and thickness of your solar panels. This information will guide you in choosing the appropriate cover size.

  2. Determine the Cover Size: The cover should be slightly larger than the solar panel to ensure complete coverage and prevent damage from debris or water. As a general rule, add 2-4 inches to the panel’s dimensions to determine the cover size.

  3. Consider Panel Orientation: If your solar panels are installed in landscape or portrait orientation, make sure the cover dimensions match the panel orientation.

  4. Account for Mounting Hardware: Factor in the space required for any mounting hardware, such as frames or brackets, when selecting the cover size.

By taking precise measurements and choosing the right-sized covers, you can ensure a secure and seamless fit that protects your solar panels without compromising their performance.

Mounting and Installation Techniques

Properly mounting and installing the solar panel covers is essential for their long-term effectiveness. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Attachment Methods: Depending on the cover material and your solar panel setup, you can use various attachment methods, such as:
  2. Clips: Durable clips that snap or screw into the panel frame or mounting system.
  3. Brackets: Sturdy metal or plastic brackets that securely hold the cover in place.
  4. Adhesives: High-quality, weatherproof adhesives that bond the cover to the panel frame.

  5. Ventilation Considerations: Ensure that the installation allows for adequate airflow around the solar panels to prevent overheating and maintain optimal efficiency.

  6. Warranty Compatibility: Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid any installation methods that may void the warranty on your solar panels or covers.

  7. Accessibility for Maintenance: Design the installation to allow easy access for regular cleaning and inspection of the covers and panels.

By choosing the appropriate attachment method and considering ventilation, warranty compatibility, and maintenance accessibility, you can ensure a secure and effective installation of your solar panel covers.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Proper maintenance and regular cleaning are essential for maintaining the effectiveness of your solar panel covers. Follow these guidelines:

  1. Cleaning Frequency: Regularly clean the covers, typically every 3-6 months, to remove dust, dirt, and debris that can accumulate and reduce the panel’s efficiency.

  2. Cleaning Methods: Use a soft cloth or sponge and a mild, non-abrasive detergent to gently clean the cover surface. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could scratch or damage the cover.

  3. Inspection and Replacement: Periodically inspect the covers for any signs of wear, cracks, or deterioration. Replace the covers if necessary to maintain the desired level of protection and transparency.

  4. Seasonal Considerations: Pay extra attention to cleaning and maintaining the covers during seasons with increased debris, such as fall (leaves) or winter (snow).

By following a consistent maintenance routine and addressing any issues promptly, you can ensure your solar panel covers continue to provide optimal protection and performance.

Cost and Savings Considerations

Investing in solar panel covers can have a significant impact on the long-term performance and cost-effectiveness of your solar energy system. Consider the following factors when evaluating the cost and potential savings:

  1. Cover Costs: The cost of the covers will vary depending on the material, size, and brand. Tempered glass covers tend to be the most expensive, while polycarbonate and PET film are generally more affordable.

  2. Installation Costs: Factor in the cost of any necessary hardware, tools, and labor required for the installation of the covers.

  3. Increased Efficiency: Solar panel covers can improve the efficiency of your panels by protecting them from dust, debris, and snow accumulation. This can lead to increased energy production and cost savings over the lifetime of your solar system.

  4. Extended Panel Lifespan: By shielding your solar panels from physical damage and environmental factors, covers can help extend the panels’ lifespan, potentially delaying the need for costly replacements.

  5. Potential Rebates and Incentives: Some local or national programs may offer rebates or incentives for installing solar panel covers, which can offset the initial investment.

By carefully considering the upfront costs and the long-term benefits of solar panel covers, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and energy goals.


Covering your solar panels is a crucial step in protecting your investment and ensuring optimal performance. By carefully selecting the right material, accurately measuring and sizing the covers, properly installing them, and maintaining them regularly, you can maximize the efficiency and longevity of your solar energy system.

Remember, the specific details and recommendations provided in this guide are based on industry best practices and quantifiable data points. Always consult with a professional solar installer or manufacturer for personalized advice and guidance tailored to your unique solar setup and local conditions.


  1. Solar Resource Compass – DNV (
  2. Procedure for Measuring and Reporting the Performance of Photovoltaic Systems – NREL (
  3. Quantifying the value of a solar installation: some helpful metrics – Aurora Solar (