Property owners are swarming to solar energy since it is a cost-effective and sustainable way to produce electricity. You will, however, understandably be concerned about the impact of hailstorms on the solar panels if they frequently occur in your area. Have you known how to protect solar panels from hail?
Table of Contents
- The Fragility of Solar Panels
- How Does Hail Damage Affect the Performance of Solar Panels?
- Ways to Protect Solar Panels From Hail
- How to Respond to Damaged Solar Panels
The Fragility of Solar Panels
We are all aware of the astounding amount of damage that a severe hailstorm can inflict on homes and automobiles, including denting roofs and shattering windows and windscreens.
Solar panels are typically mounted to the areas of your roof or RV that are most exposed to the elements since they need to be carefully positioned to capture as much sunlight as possible.
It helps to have some understanding of how vulnerable solar panels are to damage in order to make the optimal protection decisions.
How Does Hail Damage Affect the Performance of Solar Panels?
When hail hits a solar panel, the damage is frequently evident right away in the form of noticeable cracks or even holes in the panel’s glass. But occasionally hail can also cause microscopic cracks in the silicon photovoltaic cells. As the panel heats up and cools down, these cracks progressively grow until they become noticeable and begin to affect the performance of the panel.
The energy output of the panel is significantly reduced by both types of degradation, which eventually reduces its useful lifespan. Any scratch or break on a solar panel’s outside affects the quantity of sunlight that reaches the cells within, thus even minor damage is an issue.
Broken solar cells won’t produce energy efficiently, and moisture inside the panel can harm the parts and perhaps short-circuit the cell. The panel may become immediately worthless if the damage is serious enough.
Hailstones greater than an inch in diameter are the ones most likely to harm solar panels. Larger hailstones, especially those that measure 1.5 inches or greater in diameter, are typically what inflict visible damage. Solar panels may sustain damage from flying or falling debris, such as tree branches, during a strong storm.
Ways to Protect Solar Panels From Hail
Here are some methods for protecting solar panels from hail:
Use protective covers first
To prevent solar panels from being scratched and being hit by small objects, these temporary covers made of clothing materials are used. Additionally, it shields the surface from additional weather-related hazards including hail damage.
However, they are useless in the face of high winds. Make sure the one you choose for your roof has strong sides and openings for the panel’s legs. However, choose one with a mesh top and no bottom if you don’t want to completely enclose them.
Apply a methacrylate layer
Methacrylate, a typical polymer monomer, can shield your solar panels from weather conditions like rain, strong winds, and hailstorms. Particularly well-known for withstanding hail, this substance.
Solar panels can be shielded with a Plexiglas shield, a transparent material that can withstand even the worst weather conditions.
Additionally, because of its clear design, it doesn’t block sunlight, ensuring that the solar cells’ efficiency is unaffected. So even if the weather changes, the sun can still pay for your expenses.
Get the appropriate panels
It goes without saying that not all solar panels are created equally.
Choose a material that is acceptable for your climate because different materials may be better suited for it. Before purchasing from any brand, make sure it has been tested for hail damage; the structure will have a “hail test” certification. Alternatively, you can look up the company’s online description.
The brand’s years of warranty should also be checked. It is one of the factors that can assist you in determining whether the solar panels are safeguarded even throughout severe weather.
Construct a wire gauge
Building a wire gauge to shield the solar panels is another choice. To create this protective cover, you will need wire mesh or PVC pipe material, but it won’t cost more than $50.
However, there are other factors to take into account, such as the number of wires necessary to appropriately shield the solar panels from wind and hail. And they must not interfere with sunlight’s ability to penetrate.
Purchase a solar panel angular automatic system
No matter how severe the weather conditions are, you will always have access to sunlight thanks to an automated solar panel. Regarding hail exposure, solar panels are more exposed at the angle where sunshine is available.
You can have more control over what hits the surface if you install an autonomous solar panel angle system that allows you to modify the angle with a remote. Watch the weather forecast before leaving the house to find out the best protection for the solar panels.
Take weather predictions seriously
This is yet another crucial factor that property owners with solar systems need to take into account. By paying attention to weather prediction, you can use this technology to increase its lifespan and guarantee greater effectiveness.
It aids in maintenance by enabling you to decide how frequently to clean, how to prevent water damage, and how to prepare effectively for weather changes.
Think about weather-monitoring apps created just for property owners with solar systems.
Inspect the solar panels
Another thing is to look at the solar panels. They may be signs of a problem if they are bowed or deformed. Additionally, look for indications of weather damage on the racking system, such as bending, bends, fractured metal, and corrosion.
Even the smallest break has the potential to impair this technology’s whole capacity to produce electricity. So, when hailstorms are more often, you need to be aware of them.
Additionally, you need to inspect the grid inverter; if there are any anomalies or signs that it will soon spoil, it is better to call in a specialist.
Use a surveillance app
If you pay attention to things like the voltage meter, it will be simpler to monitor system performance. And you’ll be aware of what to do when it starts to decrease.
How to Respond to Damaged Solar Panels
- Make certain you’re covered
The obvious method to protect yourself from unforeseen harm to your property is with insurance, and solar panels are no exception.
As a structural component of your home, solar panels put on the roof may be automatically covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Never, however, take security for granted. To learn more about your coverage, read the small print in your insurance policy and contact your provider.
The market value of your home may vary if you install a solar energy system. Before installation, it can be a good idea to phone your provider and ask whether installing solar panels on your roof will raise your premiums.
- Repair instead of replacing to save money
Solar panels are pricey, and replacing one might put a strain on your finances, especially if you don’t have insurance.
Additionally, the production of solar panels uses a lot of energy, water, and chemicals, so you might want to reconsider seeing them as disposable if you care about the environment.
The good news is that a complete replacement may not be required depending on the extent of the damage to your panels.
The mounting frame, cables, connectors, and backing are just a few of the solar panel parts that are frequently and easily replaceable. It is more debatable whether to fix the glass covering and the cells themselves.
For good reason, folks who are thinking about purchasing solar panels for their homes or automobiles frequently worry about storm and hail damage. Because solar energy systems are expensive, it’s crucial to make sure that your investment is profitable rather than placing additional strain on your finances.
Hail damage is not as likely to occur as one may think. According to research, solar panels are resilient to hail damage and long-lasting, in part because many manufacturers put them through strict testing. Because of this, many manufacturers offer a 25-year warranty.
To avoid squandering precious resources and to ensure that your solar panels will continue to produce sustainable energy for many years to come, it is a good decision to take a few easy precautions to safeguard them from more extreme weather events.