When it comes to investing in solar energy, you want to make sure your money is well-spent for the efficiency of powering your home and its reliability over time. One key question many homeowners have when considering solar panel installation is: Are solar panels hail resistant? No one wants a major investment like this to turn into a costly failure due to inclement weather like severe hail storms. In this blog post, we’re going to delve into what makes solar panels hail resistant and how they can help outlast even the fiercest hailstorms!
Are Solar Panels Hail Resistant?
Solar panels are usually made with tempered glass, which is a strong material that can withstand most hailstones. However, if a really big hailstone hits a solar panel at high speed, it can still break the glass, even if it’s a good-quality panel. So, it’s a good idea to let your home and contents insurance provider know you have installed solar panels and ensure your solar system is covered in your policy. It’s also important to check that your policy includes coverage for hail damage, just to be safe.
What’s the Possibility That Solar Panels Will Be Damaged by Hails?
Solar panels are built using a strong type of glass called tempered glass. This makes them able to withstand most hailstones that come their way. In Australia, solar panels must meet a specific standard and be able to endure hail stones with a diameter of 35mm, which is about the size of a golf ball.
However, if hailstones are bigger than this, they can cause damage to solar panels. Therefore, we suggest you inform your home and contents insurance provider that you have solar panels installed and ensure that your policy covers hail damage.
The National Weather Service defines severe hailstorms as those producing hailstones at least one inch in diameter. However, solar panels are designed to withstand hailstones up to 1.75 inches in diameter. This is because they are made with thick tempered glass that is around 3.2 mm thick, which helps protect them from damage.
How to Evaluate Hail Damage?
To check if your solar system has been damaged by hail, you can do two things. First, take a look at your inverter. This is a device that shows you how much energy your panels are producing. If there is significant hail damage to your solar system, the inverter will likely detect it and show an error message on its display screen. For example, you might see red lights or a message saying ‘ground fault’ or ‘earth fault.’
If you notice any of these signs or if there is no indication of any power generation, it’s best to contact your solar installer for further assistance. Second, you can do a visual inspection from a distance. If your solar panel has been smashed by hail, you should be able to see it from the ground without climbing onto your roof.
It’s important to be careful and not get too close because there could be a risk of voltage leakage. If you suspect your solar panels may have been damaged, it’s best to get them checked by a professional.
Ways to Protect Against Hail Damage
Keeping solar panels safe from hail can be a challenge, but there are solutions that help protect against damage. One highly effective method is to use a solar panel protection cover. These covers come in two main varieties, mesh and solid, and they either absorb the hailstones’ impact or provide a shield-like barrier.
Mesh covers interact with the stones, so less energy is transferred to the panel itself, while solid covers are designed to take the brunt of the force before it reaches the solar panel surface. Installing these protective covers before storms arrive can make all the difference when it comes to preserving a solar panel’s longevity.
If a hailstorm is approaching, shut down your solar system to reduce the risk of damage. Consult your solar panel manual or contact a professional installer for guidance on how to shut down your system safely.
“In addition to hail-resistant panels, you can invest in a hail protection system, such as a mesh screen or protective cover, to prevent hailstones from directly hitting your solar panels.
Keep in mind: Damage to solar panels can occur from various sources, including extreme weather events like hailstorms and normal wear and tear over time. Regular maintenance and prompt repairs can help protect your investment and extend the lifespan of your solar panels.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that not all solar panels are completely hail resistant. Factors like panel thickness and type of installation will increase the chances that your panels will be able to handle impacts from hailstones, but it is best practice to seek advice from a professional installer or roofing contractor.
If your location experiences frequent hailstorms, there may be ways to protect your solar panels, such as by installing metal sheets over them. But before committing to any protection measure, speak with an expert in the matter to get their recommendation on the best course of action for your situation.
Hail can be a major problem if its size exceeds what your solar system can handle, so it’s important to be proactive about preventing or mitigating possible damage. Stay safe and feel confident having made an informed decision thanks to learning more about whether solar panels are hail resistant!