4 Keys to the Toughest Solar Panel Packaging

Written by Tony Chang

March 9, 2022

4 Keys to the Toughest Solar Panel Packaging

A solar panel’s first line of defence against the harsh environment is the packaging.

Even high-quality solar panels packaged in weak cardboard boxes can lead to microcracks during transport, especially on long, choppy ocean liners and bumpy truck rides.

Without a solid packaging design that can protect the solar panels during the long, sometimes intercontinental trips, the solar panels may already be filled with unseen reliability issues before they go up on your roof.

Therefore it is important to create a reliable solar packaging solution that can withstand the stresses of transport and ensure the solar panels arrive at their destination safely, without a scratch.

What Is Solar Panel Packaging?

A typical solar panel packaging consists of a cardboard box with the footprint of a pallet and houses between 26 to 36 panels in the box.

A good solar panel packaging design makes it easier to transport solar panels on a pallet, and provide excellent protection to the panels during transport.

WINAICO’s solar boxes are so tough that one can withstand the weight of a ton, roughly the weight of a pallet full of solar panels, for an hour.

We share 4 tips from our packaging designers in creating the most reliable solar panel boxes on the market, to protect the solar panels before they reach your door.

Vertically Pack Solar Panels to Reduce Stress on Panels

Horizontally packed solar panels have the advantage of easier repacking into partial pallets.

But it has a drawback in geometrically increasing more stress to panels at the bottom as the box gets filled.

As a result, bottom panels of a horizontally packaged design can be filled with microcracks after transportation, even before they go on your roof.

horizontal vs vertical packing
Left) horizontally packed panels exert stress on bottom panels. Right) vertically packed panels are free from stacking stresses.

To minimise the stress on panels, WINAICO modules are stacked vertically, so each panel in the box does not carry more weight than itself.

Reinforced Solar Box Built for Stacking

The next step to designing the toughest solar packaging on the market is by optimising the thickness of the cardboard boxes.

We make sure the cardboard boxes are thick and rigid, with corner supports that can resist huge pressure.

The cardboard box also needs to be a fraction higher than the solar modules packed into it to take the pressure off solar panels when another full pallet stacks on top of them.

This means when we stack the pallets of our packaged solar panels on top of each other, no stress is exerted to the bottom solar panels, allowing them to arrive at solar installations in perfect condition.

stacking on empty box
Our solar panel boxes are designed to support the weight of a full pallet.

As part of our internal design criteria, we would stack a full solar module pallet, which weighs more than 700 kg, on top of an empty box.

A qualified packaging design would maintain perfect form for 5 minutes to confirm the empty box does not crumple under the weight of a full pallet.

Stack Full Pallets Over 3 Days to Confirm Packaging Stability

Once an empty box passes the 5-minute test, we can move on to stacking full pallets on top of each other.

Our engineers would place a fully loaded solar panel box on top of another full pallet, followed by 3 days of waiting to make sure the two boxes do not lose their shapes.

Since our boxes are a fraction higher than the solar panels inside, the 3-day test is a great way to confirm the integrity of our boxes over a long time.

stacking full pallets
Stack 2 full pallets together for 3 days to monitor stability.

Take Full Solar Panel Pallets on the Road to Simulate Transport Stress

Now we have confirmed our panel packages can perform in a fixed environment, we can move on to a final dynamic road test.

What better way to simulate the stresses of transporting solar panels than actually driving the pallets around in a truck?

pallets on a truck
Use a loaded truck to test the reliability of solar packaging.

Our engineers would load up the double-stacked pallets onto a flatbed truck, and let the truck drive 300 km before coming back to the lab.

EL pictures and power measurements of every panel in the two pallets (62 panels in total) would be taken before and after the road test to confirm the presence of microcracks, if any, after the road trip.

before and after el
Left) before and right) after EL pictures of one panel from the road test.

The EL pictures of the panels in one such trip showed none of the 62 panels was damaged during the truck ride, while the power measurements also showed no power degradation from the experiment.

power distribution
The power distribution of the 2 pallets of panels was unchanged after one such road test.

Consistency in module power distributions before and after tests is the best indication of the stability and reliability of our solar panel package.

To learn more about how WINAICO solar technologies can help with your rooftop energy production, please get in touch with us.

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