Hail can be damaging to people, homes, and vehicles. Hence, the solar panels we install on our roofs are also not spared from this type of severe weather condition. As a result, it’s crucial for homeowners with a solar system installed at home to learn how to protect solar panels from hail.
To protect the panels from hail, purchasing a solar panel protective cover and doing regular maintenance are necessary. It’s also practical to get comprehensive insurance coverage so that in case your panels get damaged, you won’t need to spend more on the pricey cost of replacing them.
Let’s unveil some practical methods on how to safeguard solar panels from damage caused by hail storms.
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Can Hail Storms Severely Damage Durable Solar Panels?
Yes. Solar panels get severely damaged by hail stones that commonly strike their surface. Regardless of how durable your panels are, hailstones can destroy them, and it’s likely to ruin the entire solar system setup. This is a severe issue for those who reside in regions where hail storms are prevalent.
Generally speaking, even if your region doesn’t commonly encounter big hailstones, you cannot guarantee that you’re danger-free because the surfaces of your solar panels are made of glass.
For this reason, you have to consider some effective techniques to give your solar panels the maximum protection they need, especially when harsh weather conditions strike. Since solar panels are expensive investments, it’s just right to provide them with paramount protection.
A Few Materials Needed to Protect Solar Panels From Hail
- A solar panel protective cover (alternatives: a sheet of plywood, heavy blanket, or tarpaulin)
- Transparent plexiglass & a flexible mounting frame for recreational vehicles
Simple Techniques on How to Safeguard Solar Panels From Hail Storms
Step 1: Conduct thorough research.
Conduct some research first before you invest in a solar power system. Learn the pros and cons of installing a solar system, primarily if you reside in regions where inclement weather conditions are a significant concern. It will help if you discuss your concerns with a local solar power system specialist in your area.
If your current location encounters frequent severe hailstorms, a better option for you would be small-sized solar panels that can be instantly replaced if they get damaged. For locations prone to gale-force winds, strong sweeping winds, and storms, solar panels placed out of the sweeping wind are more likely to be shielded from hail damage.
For those residing in areas with frequent heavy snowfall during winter, go for solar panels that can tolerate a stable load. Be sure to install them at an elevated angle to ward off snow accumulation. Keep in mind that the roof should be durable enough to resist the load of your solar panels and thick snow during the winter seasons.
Additionally, for those planning to set up a solar system on a boat, caravan, or recreational vehicles, invest in premium quality solar panels with an excellent weatherproof grade.
Then, affix the panels on a flexible frame, which you can lay flat or tilt as per the sun’s angle and weather conditions. It’s vital to check the solar panel’s warranty when purchasing one.
Step 2: Ensure that your solar system setup is appropriately installed.
Did you know that hail storms aren’t the only reasons solar panels get damaged? A poor installation and careless transport can also damage your panels. This is why it’s vital to deal with trusted and dependable solar contractors and providers.
When installing the panels, make sure that they’re positioned correctly, where they can get an ample amount of sun exposure. You also need to consider if their placement or orientation can safeguard them from prevailing winds.
Please note that solar panels affixed in flat positions are more prone to getting damaged by hail stones than panels affixed at an elevated angle. Hence, we strongly recommend affixing your panels on a framework at an angle to your roof. This approach is a vital consideration for houses designed with a flat or low-pitch roof.
Step 3: Purchase a solar panel hail protector.
Buy a solar panel protective cover that you can position over the glass surface of the panel when severe storms are forecasted. If it’s impossible for you to find a protective cover that matches your panel’s design, a few alternatives you can try include a piece of plywood, a heavy blanket, or a tarpaulin.
You should ensure that the solar panel’s surface is not scratched. Moreover, you should avoid banging a bulky item against the panels to prevent any damage.
Transparent plexiglass can serve as a permanent cover for RV solar panels; however, it can minimize the amount of sun exposure absorbed by the panel, so energy output is lessened.
A flexible mounting framework can also offer protection as this enables you to put your panels at a vertical angle when severe weather is forecasted. If you position your panels vertically, less surface space would be open for the hail to hit.
Step 4: Always keep yourself updated with weather warnings.
Keeping your panels blanketed or positioned at a vertical angle all the time will minimize their capability to deliver excellent performance. Hence, it’s best to remain posted by setting weather alerts on your smartphone. This way, you can respond timely to weather warnings.
Step 5: Avoid neglecting your solar system’s regular maintenance and monitoring.
Solar panels don’t particularly call for maximum maintenance, but closely inspecting and monitoring them from time to time is advantageous on your part. In doing so, you can detect quickly if some damages and issues need to be addressed instantly.
Cleaning the surface of the panels and removing various sorts of dirt and buildup can maximize their performance. Please don’t allow your panels to get dusty, as this can result in losing 30 percent of their power ability. It’s also easier to visually inspect for damages when the panels are clean.
If you don’t wish to do routine maintenance, you can opt for a cleaning service agency or use automatic cleaning systems. Alternatively, you may contact your solar installer to inspect the panels once a year.
Why Is Using Protective Covers Crucial for Protecting Solar Panels From Hail
Installing protective covers for solar panels is especially beneficial for homeowners living in hailstorm-prone regions. These covers are generally manufactured using durable marine fabrics that provide the utmost shield from inclement weather conditions like heavy debris, sleet, hail, and snow.
Aside from this, protective covers are useful during extreme sun exposure as they protect the panels from the possibility of overheating. The fabric used for manufacturing these protective covers is sturdy enough to absorb any shock. The material is durable to the extent that it could defy hailstorms blowing at 50 miles an hour.
The disadvantage of not installing a protective cover is permanent damage from hail. Protective covers are worthwhile investments because they’re usually built to last. To be exact, they can serve you for more than ten years.
What Are Cleaning Robots
We now live in a rapidly developing world, so it’s not surprising that we get to see amazing inventions that make our lives easier every day. One of these inventions is a cleaning robot.
Solar manufacturing companies have engineered cleaning solar robots that are instrumental in improving the safety of solar panels. Since they are automated, they execute an outstanding job of keeping solar panels clean.
Best of all, they utilize a small amount of water when cleaning the panels.
Are Damaged Solar Panels Hazardous
Yes. It can be dangerous to touch broken solar panels that are damaged by severe weather conditions. Likewise, you should avoid taking any residues off because solar PV systems can still produce voltage even though the network supply is already disconnected.
You may refer to the solar inverter as this device indicates any issue that causes solar panel malfunctions. Avoid repairing the damage, primarily if you aren’t licensed to remove debris or check and fix the panels.
The Bottom Line
To sum up, you don’t need to spend extravagantly safeguarding your solar panels from hail damage. So long as you are well aware of the weather conditions in your region, you can think of ways to protect your panels.
Again, to ensure reliable solar panel hail protection, conduct thorough research and invest in solar panel protective covers. Also, consider some safety measures when handling solar panels and perform routine maintenance and monitoring.
Did you find our tutorial about how to protect solar panels from hail informative? If yes, please give it a like and share it with other readers out there.
As the founder of the Avasolar team, I aspire to solve the problems for households in selecting, installing, and utilizing solar mechanical devices.