How to protect solar panels from hail ?

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Solar panels can provide clean energy for sustainable living. However, it can be costly. To get the best out of your investment, it is important to understand how to maintain your panels.

Protecting solar panels against hail is possible by purchasing protective covers, routine maintenance, and responding to weather warnings. You can ensure your panels cover any damages and save money by repairing instead of replacing them.

You can avoid costly repairs by performing basic maintenance and taking preventative steps to reduce damage. Keep reading to learn everything you need about hail protection for your solar panels.

 

How delicate are solar panels?

Heavy hail storms can do incredible damage to homes and cars. They can even cause roof damage and break windows and windscreens.

Solar panels must be placed precisely to capture as much sun as possible. They are typically mounted on the areas of your RV or roof that are most exposed.

It is important to understand the vulnerability of your polycrystalline solar panels to make the best decisions regarding protecting them.

 

 

What Makes Solar Panels Susceptible to Damage?

In contrast to vehicles and buildings constructed from tough materials such as steel, concrete, or wood solar panels are made out of materials that appear less durable.

The majority of solar panels are composed of photovoltaic cells. These are usually comprised of silicon. They are then slid on a frame, then coated with the toughened layer of glass. This type of solar panel is referred to as a crystalline silicon panel is the most widely used.

Solar panels made of thin films are the newest technology, where the cells are constructed from amorphous silicon. They're typically coated with a layer of plastic, instead of glass, making them less bulky and flexible.

Thin-film panels are then made into the shape of the roof of a car as an example, which makes them a great choice for those who love to go on adventures. They are cheaper, even though they're not as efficient as crystalline silicon panels.

Being aware that you're putting an unwieldy and heavy, brittle, and heavy collection of glass and silicon to your roof, and you are at the mercy of weather can be extremely anxious. This is why most people are worried about how they can protect their new, shiny systems from harm. However, don't be too worried you might not be as great as you believe.

Solar Panels Are Tougher Than You May Realize

The majority of solar panels available have been tested to determine their resistance to hail damage in the development and design phase. The test involves throwing hailstones bigger than golf balls into solar panels at speeds up to 170 miles an hour. It's safe to say that a solar panel that can endure this test is more likely to last through the typical storm!

Evaluations of the panels put in place on structures support this idea. A study published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 2014 examined nearly 500,00 solar or photovoltaic systems and found that the likelihood of hail damage was lower than 0.05 percent.

If solar panels are coated with glass, the glass is typically tempered or toughened which makes it stronger than the average glass. The plastic coverings have greater flexibility and are less prone to being damaged by hailstones.

In reality, solar panels and solar energy systems generally are quite robust and can withstand the elements. A previous paper from the NERL that was published in 2012, found that out of more than 2000 solar systems and solar modules studied for 40 years the majority (78 percent) were degraded at a rate of just 1% each entire year.

This rigorous testing and endurance of the panel is the reason why many solar panel manufacturers offer a guarantee for their products for up to 25 years, at the power output of 80. However, it is possible for damage to occur and can greatly affect the efficiency of the solar panels.

 

How Does Hail Damage Affect Solar Panel Performance?

If hail damage solar panels it is usually immediately apparent, as large cracks or holes that are visible in the glass covering the panel. But, occasionally, hail can cause invisible micro-cracks within solar cells made of silicon that will expand gradually when the panel heats up and cools until they become apparent and can affect the performance of the panel.

The two kinds of damage can result in an important reduction in the solar power output of the panel and, in the end, reduce its life span. Even a small amount of damage can be an issue. Any scratch or crack that occurs on the surface of a solar panel will reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches the cells within.

The damaged photovoltaic cells cannot create energy effectively and the moisture in the panel could affect the components and result in the cells short-circuiting. When the damages are serious enough, it will make the panel inoperable.

Most damage caused by hail on solar panel systems is the result of hailstones greater than one centimeter in size. Damage visible typically results from bigger hailstones. This is especially true for ones that measure 1.5 inches or greater in diameter. In the event of a severe storm, solar panels could be damaged by dropping or falling debris like the branches of trees.

Because of climate change, many parts around the globe are likely to be more likely to suffer more extreme weather events, such as catastrophic hailstorms and storms. Therefore, it's not wise to depend solely on the solar panels' endurance instead, take simple steps to safeguard your solar panels from harm.

 

Five Easy Steps to Safeguard Solar Panels from hail damage

Protection of solar panels from damage from hail isn't a necessity or time-consuming and is mainly an issue of common sense. It requires a little investigation, proactive measures to protect yourself as well as regular upkeep and surveillance.

Step 1: Do Your Research

Before you purchase the solar panel It is important to conduct your research and evaluate the obstacles the solar panels are having to face.

If you're thinking of purchasing solar panels to power your residence, make sure you read more about the climate conditions that prevail in your region and how they can affect the style and the brand of solar panel that you purchase. You might want to think about consulting local experts who are familiar with the solar panel's performance in your local area.

Does your region experience regular, severe hailstorms? You might want to consider purchasing solar panels with a smaller size that is more affordable and easily replaced in the event of being damaged.

Do you live in a region that has high winds that dominate or hurricanes and gale force winds? Panels that are mounted against the wind's direction could be more protected from damage caused by storms.

Do you live in a region that experiences heavy snowfall during winter? The panels you choose to buy are designed to stand up to static loads and look into placing them at a higher angle to avoid a build-up of snow. Keep in mind that your roof should also be able of enduring the weight of both solar panels as well as snow during winter.

If you're planning to install an energy system powered by solar for your caravan, RV, or boat, you're likely to expose your panels to different climates and locations. Make sure you select sturdy panels and verify their weather ratings. You may want to consider mounting your panels on a frame that is bent or laid flat according to the conditions as well as the angle of the sun.

Be sure to check the warranty information for the solar panel you decide to purchase. Numerous brands will guarantee their panels against certain amounts of hail and wind damage.

Panels

 

Step 2: Get the Installation Right

There's no need to wait for a hailstorm to hit -the damage to your solar panels is often the result of improper installation. In certain instances, solar panels could be damaged while in transit or during installation. If the damage is not visible or not apparent, it will be discovered the time that your warranty has expired. Therefore, ensure that you are working with reliable and reputable contractors and suppliers.

Consider carefully the location and the orientation for your solar panel. Naturally, the panels need to be placed in a way that makes the most use of the sunlight, but be aware of the position of your panels relative to the current winds.

Panels that are attached flat are more susceptible to being struck by hailstones than ones that are mounted at an angle. If your home is built with a flat or low pitch roof, you might want to consider installing the panels on frames at an angle relative to the roof.

Installation solar panel

 

Step 3: Invest in Some Weather Proofing

Spending a few dollars now could save hundreds or thousands of dollars later. You should consider investing in protective protection for solar panels that can be positioned on top of the glass in the event of severe storms.

If you are unable to find an appropriate cover made for your panels, a tarpaulin, a few blankets with a lot of weight, or even an old piece of plywood could give you some security. Be sure to avoid damaging the panel's surface or banging an object on them, because you might cause the type of damage that you're trying to avoid.

Many RV owners design their own solar panel protective covers out of transparent materials like plexiglass. However, any covering could decrease the amount of light getting to the panel and decrease its power output, particularly when the plexiglass is damaged or scratched.

Another option for protection could be an adjustable frame for mounting which allows you to tilt the panels towards the vertical location when you expect hail to hit. If the panels are angled vertically, there's a smaller area for hail to fall on — unless there are powerful winds that push the hail to the side.

 

Step 4: Respond to the Weather Warnings

The solar panels that are not covered or tilted to the vertical in all weather conditions will render them useless for what they are designed to do which is to produce solar energy. To eliminate the guesswork and stress you can set an alert for weather on your smartphone so you're aware when severe weather is on the way.

Weather program

 

Step 5: Don't Skip Routine Maintenance and Monitoring

As we all know, damages to solar panels caused by hail may be undetectable and you'll only detect the damaged panels because of their decreased performance. The only way to determine the solar panel isn't performing as it should is to be actively involved in their daily maintenance and check their power output frequently.

Numerous monitoring systems are offered for solar panels and many of them send information to the cloud so you can access the information via an app even if you're not in your home. The monitoring of your solar panel can assist you in keeping your eye on their performance and even notify you of any damages.

Improve the performance of your solar panels by keeping current on regular maintenance, like regular cleaning of the surface to eliminate dust, leaves, and other dirt. An unclean solar panel could be able to lose as much as 30 percent of its power. Cleansing the panels also lets you check them visually for any damage.

Cleaning robots is the most recent technology that you can use for solar panel cleaning. But, if you have a limited budget this is not for you. It will be beneficial for cleaning large amounts of solar panels within a short time. This technology is mainly designed for commercial solar systems. You have to purchase a minimum number of robots based on the solar panel count.

If you're not keen to get on the roof every week Alternatives include automated cleaning systems or outsourcing cleaning services. It might also be worth it to contact your manufacturer or installer to inspect and clean the panels every year.

Maintaining your panels in good condition and monitored improves the performance of your panels and makes you more likely to be able to detect the damage before it occurs.

monitoring panels

 

What to Do When Your Solar Panels Are Damaged

There are plenty of signs that solar panels can stand up to extreme storms, as well as there are easy steps to use to avoid the possibility of damage, there is the possibility that a severe storm could cause damage to the solar panels.

In this scenario, it is recommended to ensure you prepare a contingency plan in place to minimize the financial impact if the worst occurs.

Make Sure You're Insured

Insurance is the best way to protect yourself from unexpected damages to your property solar panels aren't any different.

Solar panels that are mounted in the roofing of the home form part of the structure of your home and could be automatically covered by your insurance for the household. But, do not assume that you're protected. Review the fine print of the insurance policy you have purchased, or contact your provider to find out more regarding your insurance coverage.

Installing a solar system can also affect the value of your home. It's a good idea to speak to your provider before installation to inquire about whether the addition of solar panels to your roof will impact the cost of your insurance.

If you are considering installing solar panels on your RV, the provider could think of this as “customization,” which refers to any modifications made to the car, as it is built by the manufacturer.

Contact your insurance provider to learn what modifications affect your policy You may have to update your insurance policy to include these additional items. It is also important to determine if the installation of solar panels could alter the warranty on your vehicle.

Save Money by Repairing, Not Replacing

Solar panels can be expensive replacements particularly without insurance is a strain on the wallet.

Additionally, a lot of water, energy and other chemicals are used during the production of solar panels. Therefore, if you're committed to protecting the environment, then you might want to reconsider treating them as disposable. As people gradually become aware of the dangers that conventional energy resources bring to the environment, demand for renewable energy sources increases.

There's good news that dependent on the extent of damage to your panels an entire replacement might not be required.

A lot of solar panel parts, particularly the mounting frame and connectors, wires, and backing, can be repaired quickly and cheaply. Repairing the glass covering as well as the solar cells themselves is a more contentious matter.

In certain cases, cracks in the glass can be repaired or sealed by using epoxy resin, or film. Certain owners attempt DIY repairs, however, it is recommended to seek advice from an expert particularly if your warranty is still valid since it will be void by altering the panel by yourself.

 

Final Thoughts

Storm and hail damage is a frequent worry for those who are thinking of the purchase of solar panels for their vehicles or homes and with good reason. Solar panels are expensive and it's crucial to ensure that the investment is worth it instead of adding more stress to your pocket.

The danger of being damaged by hail isn't as great as it may seem. Studies have shown that solar panels can be robust and immune to hail damage, due in part to the rigorous tests which many manufacturers carry out. This is the reason why the majority of brands offer a warranty of 25 years.

However, it's an ideal decision to take a few easy steps to shield the solar panel from extreme weather conditions to prevent wasting precious resources, and also to ensure that they'll continue to generate long-lasting energy in the years to in the future.

 

FAQ:

Can your solar project weather a hailstorm?

However, hail can still cause damage to solar panels. Current testing is not sufficient. There is more risk than insurance. Hailstorms aren't an entirely new threat for solar panel manufacturers and insurers or module manufacturers.

What Happens If Your Solar Panels Are Damaged From Hail?

Yes, hail can cause damage to solar panels. Most home insurance policies will cover this damage. The chances of hail damaging panels are slim. … This is a testament to the strength of modern solar panels.

How Delicate Are Solar Panels?

Solar panels may appear to be susceptible to low-impact collisions. However, the eyes can be deceiving. The solar cells are fragile. They are only a few millimeters thick. They are however very strong and durable because of the frame and glass that surround them.

How to Check Your Solar Panels for Hail Damage?

Your inverter will detect hail damage if there is. Take a look at the display screen of your inverter. You should look at the inverter's display screen for any red or green lights. If there are any faults such as ground faults or earth faults, or if no indication of power generation, then there may be an issue.

Why Protect Your Solar Panels? 

Solar energy harnessing helps to protect the environment and reduce electricity costs. The solar energy system also requires very little maintenance. The installation of solar panels onto the roof can pose other risks. These hazards include theft, extreme Australian weather, and physical damage.

 


Thomas Harder

Is an environmental and renewable energy specialist with over 10 years of expertise within the renewable and solar industry. With over a decade of experience in various organizations within the field He runs Mysolarperks as a passion-driven project that promotes sustainable renewable energy ideas and products.

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