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Shielding Solar Panels from Hail: A Guide to Maximum Prevention


solar panel hail damage

Solar panels are strong, no doubt, but when massive hailstorms roll in? That's when things get tricky...


Here's a fact: solar panels are built to handle hail up to 25mm, just like the glass on your car. They're tough, but sometimes they see a hail of over 100mm — that's huge! This type of damage isn't done to just to solar panels but also roofs, cars, and more.


Now, 2022 was wild, with hail causing $1 billion in damage in the US. And 2023? Even crazier. NOAA says major hailstorms went up by 17%! That's over 4,436 times hail hit hard.


But don't worry, you're not helpless. You can protect your solar panels. Pick the right ones, add extra shields — there are ways to keep them safe. Because stopping damage before it happens? That's the goal, right? So, are you ready to tackle the storm?

 

In This Article

 

How Hail Can Damage Your Solar Panels

Imagine this: a serene sky suddenly turns furious, hurling icy projectiles right at your precious solar panels. It's like a scene from a nature-versus-technology thriller, where hailstones play the villains. These icy troublemakers, especially the ones as big as baseballs, can wreak havoc on your solar panels, leaving them bruised, battered, or even shattered. And it's not just a hypothetical scenario; it's a reality for many.


Take, for instance, the solar farm in Nebraska, pelted by giant hail as a severe storm ripped through in 2023. Or the Scottsbluff solar project, where baseball-sized hail smashed into panels at a whopping 150 MPH, leaving the farm looking like a toothless grin. These instances aren't just stories; they're wake-up calls.


And here's the real kicker, the aftermath isn't just about the physical damage. We're talking major financial blows here. Repairing or replacing solar panels doesn't come cheap, and let's not forget the loss of energy production in the meantime. Oh, and the environmental impact? It's a double whammy when you consider the resources needed to fix or produce new panels and the fossil fuels that temporarily take the stage while your green energy source is down.


So, while your solar panels are busy saving the planet, it's crucial to remember they're not invincible. They're heroes, yes, but even heroes need protection sometimes, right? And that's where you come in... but more on that in the coming section!


How to Avoid Solar Panel Hail Damage

Choosing the Right Panels - Strength and Resilience: So, you're about to make the leap into solar. Smart move! But here's something you might not have considered: not all solar panels are created equal, especially when it comes to taking a beating from hail. You'll want panels that laugh in the face of those icy bullies. Look for ones with a top-notch rating like UL 61730 or IP68 - they're like the superheroes of solar panels, built tough to withstand even the rowdiest hailstorms.


Innovative Protective Measures: But why stop there? Go the extra mile to safeguard your green investment with some cutting-edge defenses. We're talking methacrylate coatings that let the sunshine in while keeping the hail out, or protective structures designed to take the hit for your panels. It's like giving your solar panels their very own bulletproof vest!


The Role of Installation: Here's a friendly reminder, though: even the Hercules of solar panels won't stand a chance if they're not installed right. That's where choosing a stellar solar installation company comes into play. They'll ensure your panels are positioned just right to minimize hail impact and maximize sun-soaking.


What To Do If Solar Panels Are Damaged?


solar panel hail damage

Immediate Steps Post-Storm: So, the storm has passed, and you're left wondering about the fate of your solar panels. First up, safety! Don't go playing superhero by climbing onto your roof; leave the inspections to professionals. Instead, do a ground-level survey. Notice any visible damage? Document it - photos, notes, the works. This info is gold for the next steps.


Navigating Warranties and Insurance: Now, let's talk warranties and insurance. Dust off that policy or warranty document and give it a good read. Look for the magic words: "hail damage." It's crucial because, believe it or not, the probability of hail damage to a PV system is below 0.05%, according to NREL. But when it does happen, like the Midway Solar farm's $70 million wallop, you'll want to be ready. And remember, your solar provider is your ally in this. They're like the Gandalf to your Frodo in this unexpected journey!


The Replacement Process: And if the damage calls for a full-on replacement, don't sweat it. Your solar provider will have you covered, swapping out the casualties for new, more resilient panels. They'll also throw in some wisdom on preventing future run-ins with hail.


Got a solar SOS thanks to hail? Don't weather the storm alone! Reach out for a free quote on replacements and arm your home with hail-resistant solar panels. Because when nature throws a curveball, we hit back with science!


Solar Panel Hail and Other Causes of Damage to Solar Panels

While hail is the notorious villain in many solar panel horror stories, it's not the only threat lurking around.


First up: Extreme Weather. Sure, we've covered hail, but let's not forget its wicked cousins - wind and snow. High winds can whip up debris, turning innocent branches into panel-piercing projectiles. And snow? It might seem harmless, but its weight can stress your panels over time, not to mention the potential damage during a thaw-freeze cycle.


Next in line: Temperature Extremes. Interestingly enough, solar panels adore the sun but despise excessive heat. High temperatures can reduce their efficiency, and rapid temperature fluctuations cause material fatigue over time. It's like an endless cycle of solar panel yoga, and trust me, they're not flexible!


And who invited Wildlife? From birds to squirrels, critters may decide your solar setup is the next hot property on 'Airbnb for Animals.' Their nesting materials, waste, and penchant for gnawing can lead to unexpected damage and performance issues.


But here's a friendly reminder, while these threats can sound daunting, the right protective measures, regular maintenance, and a vigilant eye can keep your solar panels performing at their peak. And remember, a robust insurance policy doesn't hurt either!


Concerned about protecting your solar investment from hail and more? Get in touch for a free quote and expert advice on safeguarding your solar panels, come rain, hail, or high-flying squirrel!


FAQ

What is the hail test for solar panels?

The hail test for solar panels involves propelling ice balls at panels at high speeds, simulating hail impact. This test, often conducted under standards like UL 61730, assesses the panels' durability and resistance to potential hail damage.

How can we protect solar panels from rain?

How do I know if my solar panels are damaged?


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