How To Protect Solar Panels From Hail

Protect Solar Panels From Hail

Hail is one of the terrifying threats to investments in alternative energy sources like solar panels.

To protect the solar panel from hail damage, you must first purchase an excellent solar panel. Use additional coating materials like Methacrylate plates, protection with plexiglass, place the solar panel on moveable or mobile sets. Place your panels slightly away from hail, and install your solar in shaded areas.

In this post, I will guide you through how hail could cause damage to solar panels and the precautions to safeguard the panels from damage caused by hail.

Quick tips on protecting solar panels from hail storm:

  1. Use Methacrylate plates
  2. Follow weather forecast
  3. Use plexiglass protectors
  4. Set your solar panels on mobile or moveable sets
  5. Fit the Panels in an Acute Angle for Hails to Slide
  6. Install Solar Panel Protective Covers
  7. Consider installing your solar panel in shaded areas

For more detailed care of your solar system, do not miss my article on the proper cleaning of solar panels.

Can solar panels get damaged by hail?

Testing Hail Damage to Solar Panels!

In Colorado, where some days in the year seem as if they are the last day of the world, with severe downpours and hailstones of various sizes, research has demonstrated that hailstones could harm solar panels.

The evidence has also proven that not all solar panels will be damaged by hailstones. This is why you must conduct the appropriate inquiries about the type of panel you’ll be looking to purchase.

The same applies to those whose panels are damaged and are contemplating replacing them.

Why and how do hailstones harm solar panels?

Big chunks of hail
Big chunks of hail.

Solar panels are made using glasses for top-of-the-line coverage. The glasses or panels will pass tests that prove their capacity to stand up to the impact. Therefore, they are designed to be durable.

One of the main reasons they’re made stronger is that they can resist the impact of hailstones in particular. However, some of them are damaged by the exact hailstones they’re evaluated to resist.

The main reason is that current testing has become insufficient.

The International Electronic Commission (IEC) has established a minimum impact test that solar panel makers must meet before their solar panels are considered suitable to be used.

The problem is that this minimal impact test is too simple for solar panel makers to pass without actually meeting up to the real impact pressure or impact levels of hailstones.

The International Electronic Commission requires that solar panels be certified by the pressure of a 25-mm ice ball shot at it in 11 different locations at 23 meters per second.

The module test can be certified if it satisfies three requirements.

  • The first thing to remember is that your solar panel should not crack.
  • The power produced must not fall below five percent of the initial output.
  • The panel should not leak any water immediately following the test.

In Australia, the law requires that solar panels withstand direct impacts of hailstones 35mm in diameter, which is the size of a golf ball.

However, the reality is that hailstones could weigh more than the recommended standards of the International Electronic Commission, and that’s why it’s possible to get your solar panel damaged due to hailstones.

The International Electronic Commission equally understands that hailstones may weigh more in their impact than the standards they establish.

So, they will conduct additional tests with a larger ball of ice projected at greater speeds to determine the capacity to withstand the more forceful collisions.

This additional test isn’t mandatory and is at the discretion of solar panel producers to take part in the test on their initiative.

While some companies may opt to take this additional test, most do not pass the minimum set standard and promote their products onto the market.

Therefore, although solar panels can stand up to the impact of hailstones within IEC’s suggested standards, hailstones heavier than the minimum standard could cause damage to solar panels if they are not upgraded or have stronger resistance than the minimum.

States such as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming are prone to more severe hailstones that range between 44-mm and 51-mm in contrast to the IEC’s minimum standards of 25 millimeters.

These severe hailstones can damage your minimum certified solar panels.

How to confirm if your panel is damaged after hail

If hail strikes, it is possible to wonder whether the solar panel might be damaged or not. To verify this

Begin by examining your solar panel. Stand a few feet away from your solar panel stand and observe if the panels have been smashed from a distance.

Solar panels that have been damaged or broken are usually more obvious from a distance, particularly when the crack is thin.

Sometimes cracks or damages may be so subtle that you may not be able to discern them. The following step would be to inspect the inverter.

A lot of hail damage to solar panels is detected by the inverter. To verify damage from the inverter’s view, examine the inverter’s display for the red light.

There may be an issue if there are signs of damage like earth or ground faults or any evidence of power being produced. You would need to consult your solar expert to conduct further investigation.

How much hail can solar panels handle?

The solar industry’s top solar panel manufacturers have long understood the need for solar panels that can withstand extreme weather conditions like high winds and hail. In fact, most manufacturers test and certify their solar panels to withstand hail up to one inch in diameter falling at 50 miles per hour.

Today’s solar panels are also extremely resilient against high winds and heavy rain. Most solar panels are certified to withstand hurricane force winds. In addition, the aluminum and glass casings that hold a solar panel’s solar cells are highly waterproof, even during extreme rain.

How Does Hail Damage Affect Solar Panel Performance?

Physical hail damage is typically visible across the surface. The panel is shattered.

Beyond that, however, the output or performance from the panel may be affected. The effectiveness or performance of the solar panel is contingent on the number of functional cells.

The advancement in technology has increased the size of solar cells smaller. The smaller the cells, the less likely they are to be impacted. The thickness of the modern solar cell is 170 millimeters.

Imagine massive hail storms falling on your panel, eventually cracking the panel. There are issues with the cells that conduct currents. The result is a decrease in energy production.

The cracks that hail-shattered panels cause can lead to cracks and imperfections in cells. This results in increased resistance that causes hot spots to turn over time.

Damaged solar panels from hail cause solar cells to become prone to weather-related attacks and harm.

If the glass’s understrength is affected by hail damage, it will greatly reduce the amount of light that the panel absorbs. Additionally, foreign elements such as dust and water will have an easy entry into the glass and will block solar cells and alter energy output.

Solar panels that have been damaged by hail cause low-quality power supply from damaged cell lines. This causes the forming of laminations or mismatching solar cells. This can affect solar efficiency.

How To Protect Solar Panels From Hail

Even though the glass in solar panels is made to withstand a lot of stress and pressure, they remain fragile. This means that if they’re sprayed by pressure or weighty substances like hail, they are at risk of breaking or being damaged.

Solar panel layers
Solar panel layers.

Therefore, it is essential to know how to protect your solar panels from hail damage. Here are some helpful tips for you to follow:

1. Choose a standard panel.

The panels of every model are not made using the same amount of strength or capacity to withstand the force of hail.

While some people get through the standard tests, Some take the extra step by taking additional tests.

Therefore, as prevention is always better than cure, It is recommended to purchase “hail tested” solar panels, particularly those that can endure hail up to 1 inch in diameter, falling at speeds of 50 miles per hour.

Amorphous photovoltaic panels or thin-film are among the most durable in this. They are a flexible material and very resistant to hail and damage.

2. Utilize additional coating materials, like Methacrylate plates

Apart from thin-film plastic solar panels that have a surface, most solar panels are not as durable since they are made from glass. When used correctly, methacrylate plates can enhance the coating of the solar plate made of glass and improve the resistance that the panel has.

However, caution must take caution to make sure the solar cells aren’t damaged as damaged solar cells could affect performance.

3. Use plexiglass protectors

Plexi Glasses are also great protection and fittings to a solar panel. An inch thick plexiglass material is advised and should be larger than your solar panel. Also, ensure a gap between the solar panel and the plexiglass to ensure that no cracks are left.

4. Install your solar panels mobile or moveable sets.

If you reside in the States with a high chance of hail storms, it is advised to put your solar panels on mobile or mobile sets. This will allow you to respond when you get notified by the weatherman of the possibility of hail occurring. The only thing you need to do is move or shift your solar panel to a safer location you prefer and move it.

5. Install Solar Panel Protective Covers

If you reside in an area that is susceptible to hail storms installing solar panel protection covers is a smart decision. They are constructed from Sunbrella marine fabric, which safeguards solar panels from damaging weather conditions, such as hail, snow, sleet, and other massive debris blown by strong winds.

Covers are also crucial when the sun is strong and can result in overheating. The material used to create solar protective covers is durable and is able to absorb shocks. It is able to withstand are blowing 50 miles an hour. Hailstorms that blow at this speed are extremely strong.

If you don’t put up the protective cover, hail could cause irreparable damage. Installing a solar-powered protection cover can be a long-term investment since the material will last longer than ten years.

6. Set your panel at an angle away from the hail

The help of a professional to fix your solar will get you covered for this. Hails have angles from the point they fall, and experienced meteorologists know how to adjust your solar panel at an angle that can deflect the force and fall of hail.

Solar panels are generally installed and positioned to face south with angles of 18deg-45deg to block the normal course of hail.

Installing your panels at an angle lower than this, for example, 10deg, will leave your panels susceptible to hail damage.

7. Install wire gauges that are safe to use.

The use of gauges of protection for wires is an efficient and less stressful method to protect the solar panels from damage caused by hail. It’s cheap and does not require additional work since sunlight can pass through gauges to recharge your panel effectively.

8. Checking the weather forecast

Weather before hail
Weather before hail.

The occurrence of hail, similar to rain, and other weather-related incidents, are predicted by forecasters and meteorologists.

All you have to do is sign up to the most reliable websites, which will inform you of any hail storms that occur. In this new update, you will be able to check whether your solar panel is well-adjusted or has the risk of being affected by hail.

Therefore, subscribing to the tips on weather and following the weatherman’s tips will enable you to adopt some proactive measures to prevent hail.

9. Consider installing your solar panel in shaded areas

You may be thinking about what solar panels can do to operate in shaded areas? Yes, modern solar panels can be used in areas with a little shade and will shield your panel from hail. All you have to do is find the most efficient solar panels for a shaded area, and you’re ready to go.

Final Thoughts

In this post, I’ve walked you through the various ways to shield solar panels from damage.

Although there are many ways to shield the panels of your solar system from hail damage, it is crucial that the right method to take is determined by the specific circumstances of your house or panel as well as your budget.