Solar energy is the most reliable and cost-effective alternative to today’s nonrenewable energy sources. Solar power necessitates silicon-based solar panels, which has a minor disadvantage.
Solar panels are susceptible to adverse weather, such as dirt and dust, which can cover the surface and hinder sunlight from reaching them. Dirt and dust can be cleaned, but a hailstorm is too much to expect for the panels’ safety.
Because solar panels are made of silicon and have a tempered glass cover, hail storms and hurricanes can cause damage. Because of the panel’s direction, hail and storms rarely strike the surface directly.
However, you must understand how to protect solar panels from hail, which I will assist you with. Continue reading to learn how to protect your solar energy source against hail storms.
To be clear…
Most solar panel manufacturers test their panels to survive hailstones with a diameter of up to 25 mm (1 inch). At the same time, your actual roof is vulnerable to damage from hailstones of all sizes.
What usually happens is that your solar panels protect a big amount of your roof even if hail hits your solar panels.
It can hail cause damage to solar panels?
A hail storm can produce high winds of up to 50 miles per hour with hailstones the size of a tennis ball. Imagine how vulnerable the tempered-glass silicon solar panels would be to hail. Your panels, on the other hand, are usually harmed by hailstones that strike the direct surface.
Hailstones might damage the entire arrangement by cracking the surface. Your solar panels are in grave danger, especially if you live in a location where hailstorms are prevalent.
Even if your area is not prone to larger hailstones, you are nonetheless at risk because the panel surfaces are glass rather than metal.
What happens if your solar panels are hail damaged?
Solar panels are made up of solar cells, the primary material of which is silicon. There are monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels available.
These cells are linked and use the sun to generate electricity. The electric voltage is transmitted via solar cells, which can be seen on the roof.
It resembles an electrical circuit, and the lines drawn on the surfaces connect cells.
When hail strikes solar panels, the cells are destroyed, and the connection is disrupted. On the charge controller, you will observe a change or damage to the solar panel.
When the panel is damaged, it is best not to touch it as a consumer. Because the panel is still connected to the charge controller and receiving sunlight, you will be shocked by the voltage. As a result, it may generate power even after being damaged by hail.
Only heavy hail can harm the panels because the surface of the solar panel is stronger than that of a standard steel shed.
It is preferable to get an expert to evaluate the panel and advise you on what to do with it. Please do not touch the damaged solar panel after a storm or rain to remove dust, hail, or leaves.
A faulty solar panel, on the other hand, is hazardous to the environment. It will be a trash item containing plastics and other metal components.
It is not only detrimental to you and the environment, but it is also expensive to fix. Depending on the quality of the solar panel, you may have to pay between $200 and $1200.
How do you protect your solar panels from hail?
Hailstorms pose a significant hazard to solar panels, as they can severely damage the panel’s surface. You must understand how to safeguard solar panels from hail, especially if you live in an area prone to hailstorms.
If you want to keep your solar panels secure, here are some precautions you may take:
Obtain the appropriate panels
Protection for your solar panels should begin before you ever buy them. Conduct some research and purchase panels that can withstand the most penetrative hailstones.
Check that the panels have a solid corrosion-resistant bracket, a tempered glass surface, and a durable substance. They will keep you safe from small hailstones as well as other dust and debris.
Set up your panels properly
Once you have the best panels in your hands, make sure they are properly installed on your roof or in your garden. If you do not position them correctly, they will not form a strong array that can withstand natural disasters.
Purchase a robust and durable metal frame to hold the panels in place and keep them stable. Second, ensure that the direction of the panels is properly set in angular motion, facing south.
It will keep the panels out of the direct path of the strong wind and the branches it delivers.
Provide safeguards for your panels
After you’ve secured the panels to the base frame, you’ll need to safeguard them. It will have a lot of metal frames around the panels, as well as a good protective surface cover, and so on.
You may be aware of bird protection for solar panels, but you will require even more for hail protection. Get a rail for the panels and cover them with clear protective coverings for an added layer of protection against hailstones.
They will also make cleaning them easier, which you must do on a regular basis.
There is a wide variety of solar panel protective covers available on the market, but not all of them are suited for hail protection.
The biggest issue is that it reduces productivity because the cover also protects against sunlight. It will produce less energy than before due to the lack of direct sunshine.
However, you can only use a cover during the rainy season. It allows you to guard against hail while maintaining productivity.
Having a Methacrylate layer
Methacrylate is a polymer material with a strong binding. A methacrylate coating will form a protective layer on the surface of the solar panel.
This coating can be used to create a foaming-type protective layer on the top of the panel. It is extremely thin, and sunlight can readily travel through it.
It can shield the surface of the solar panel from hail.
Allow hail to fall by arranging the panels at an angle
This is a natural solution for hail protection for your solar panels. A proper angle will cause hail to slide off the panel and move away from the surface.
South-facing solar panels can do it easily, and during extreme weather, every solar panel set at a good angle and pitch will be able to accomplish it.
It will help keep the solar panel clean and allow for easy water flow.
Keep up to current with the weather forecast.
Staying up to date is essential if you want to keep your solar panels secure from hail and other natural calamities. If you know when the weather will become nasty or a hailstorm will hit, you can plan accordingly.
If the prediction indicates that the panels are in grave danger, you can even remove them or cover them with a thick cover.
Weather warnings and precautions
Sign up for SMS alerts for weather forecasts to get warned if a storm is approaching. If you find text notifications too expensive, there are several free apps available on app stores that you may use to keep track of things.
If you live in an area where storms are common, you can also make the panels removable. When a natural strike enters the game, you can remove it and keep it safe.
Maintain it on a regular basis.
Maintain your solar panels on a regular basis to keep them operating safely. Clean the surfaces on a regular basis, and engage an expert to assess for electrical faults. If you have an electrical issue, lightning may cause damage to the panels, inverter, or switches.
Examine the joints and connections for damage and corrosion; corrosion or damage may cause your panels to fail. You can create your own solar panel covers out of plexiglass to protect the panels from direct sunlight and to make cleaning easier.
Once or twice a year, always call for a technician.
To maintain the solar panel operational, it must be serviced on a regular basis. Professional technicians are well-versed in the physical and internal workings of a solar panel.
Routine inspection will not reveal the source of the problem. They will assist you in testing the panel’s power generation rate and present condition.
How should you examine your solar panels for hail damage?
If your solar panels are subjected to a hailstorm, be sure they are still operational and ready to serve. Here are some pointers to help you evaluate the panels for hail damage and take appropriate action:
Perform visual examinations
If your solar panels are damaged by hailstones, they will show evidence of damage; perform a visual inspection to see if there are any. A broken panel cannot be repaired. However, panels with minor damage should still produce voltages.
Examine your meter or app.
Examine the voltage meter linked to the panels to ensure correct voltage output and a consistent current flow. If you have a mobile app that monitors the output of the panels, you can see if the output is lower than average.
Whether it is low, you can see if there is a problem in the panels caused by hail that has to be addressed.
Here are some of the most often asked questions concerning solar panels and their rigidity that you might find instructive to answer:
Is it common for solar panels to break?
Solar panels are not readily broken; they are typically designed to last for more than 20 years. They are, however, silicon sandwiches with a tempered glass layer on top, and glass can shatter!
How long will a solar panel last?
Solar panels typically have a lifespan of about 20 years or more if properly cared for. Make certain that they are not hit by heavy items, as glass can be brittle.
Is it necessary to clean my solar panels?
You must maintain the panels on a regular basis and keep them clean to ensure that dirt does not obstruct the sunshine. To maintain the panels safe and clean, wash them with soapy water.
The solar energy source may cost you a lot of money at first, so you must make the investment worthwhile. It will be worthwhile only if you can get a long lifespan out of the panels, as they are the most expensive.
If you suffer hail storms on a frequent basis, your panels will never be safe enough to become tension-free. Solar panels often face south in an angled manner, while hail storms approach from the north.
So, while the strong wind may not do harm to the panels from the front, it can certainly rip the bottom of the panels up because they are facing backward.
Knowing How to Protect Solar Panels from Hail isn’t enough; you also need to be aware of the weather patterns. Check that they are properly set up to withstand heavy winds and provide adequate protection.