How Do I Replace Diodes In A Solar Panel?

The Most Comprehensive DIY Solar Panel GuideQuestion: I’m interested getting on board with solar energy, but I’m concerned about making repairs to my solar energy system. How do I replace diodes in a solar panel?

Answer: Solar energy systems contain any number of diodes between solar panels (bypass diodes), and between your solar panel array and your battery array (blocking diode). Diodes are small electrical components that only allow current to flow in one direction, and they are used as a measure of safety in solar systems to prevent overheating damage to your solar panels.

Diodes ensure your solar cells do not receive too much current if they are partially shaded (bypass diode), or that no current flows back from the battery array into the solar panels at night, which could damage the solar cell (blocking diode). Since most solar panels are connected in series (which means that the current from one solar panel is allowed to flow through the next solar panel before reaching its final destination) diodes are necessary to protect the solar cells in each of your solar panels.

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Diodes should last for years, however falling objects, storms and especially lightning can damage a diode in a solar panel. So can you replace them if this happens? Yes, you can. Solar panel diodes are available for purchase at your local hardware or electronics store.

How are they replaced? First, if the solar panel series in which a diode has failed only produces 12V of electricity, then your solar system can continue to function without the diode. But if the solar pane series is 24 or 36 Volts, it is recommended you replace the broken diode.

Replacing a diode is as simple as changing an alkaline battery (diodes similarly have positive and negative ends). Remove the old diode first, and then insert the new diode in the correct position. To be safe, it is recommended you disable your solar system before replacing broken diodes.

Solar energy systems are available as DIY projects, and if you’ve taken the time to install your system yourself, changing diodes is a snap.

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