How To Protect Solar Panels From Hail?
Hail is one of the most severe weather events that are a major problem for many home owners with solar panels.
For this reason, it’s important to know how to protect your solar panels from hail damage so you don’t have to worry about how much it will cost for repairs later on.
The good news is that there are some easy solutions to this issue!
Here are 7 ways to protect your solar panels from hail so you don’t have to worry about them anymore.
Are Solar Panels Susceptible To Hail Damage?
Solar panels are really durable and can withstand a lot. In fact, most high quality can withstand a hail of up to golf ball size (one inch in diameter) with no problem.
However, during an intense hailstorm, the hailstones may cause some damage to your solar panels, depending on how often it hails in your area and how large the hail is when it strikes.
There are usually two types of damages caused by hailstorms:
First, damage to the glass surface, the solar panel glass can crack; which is really easy to fix.
The second type of damage is damage to solar cells; this can be expensive and difficult to fix, but not impossible.
However, you shouldn’t worry about hail this much, as most companies that sell panels offer some sort of warranty in case your panel gets damaged from a hailstorm or other weather events.
Related article: Will Cracked Solar Panel Still Work?
How Can You Prevent Hail Damage To Solar Panels?
There are many ways to protect solar panels from hail, here we will go over how each method works and how effective it is.
1. Get The Right Panels
Not all solar panels are made equally, so how do you know if yours will withstand hail?
First of all, before buying solar panels from a company, make sure they have been tested for hail damage.
There should be a “hail test” certification on the panel or in their description online.
Check if there are any other customers in your area who have purchased panels recently from this company.
If they were able to protect their solar equipment during a hailstorm but yours doesn’t work so well, then you know where the problem might be!
Other great indicators are how much experience they have in installing solar systems and how many years of warranty you get.
These factors will give you an idea if their equipment can protect your investment when there is bad weather.
2. Install A Solar Panel Protection Cover
Solar panel protection covers are one of the most effective ways to protect your solar panels from hail damge.
It can best be described as a durable cover that fits over your solar panel, protecting it from getting damaged by hail or heavy rain when necessary.
It’s important to note how this works though: these won’t prevent damage when there is intense wind, they are only effective in hail or heavy rain.
Different types of covers work differently, some have a solid bottom with holes for the solar panels to come through, while others are mesh on top with no bottom at all.
If you’re looking for maximum protection from debris, then choose one that has solid sides and holes for your panel’s legs to fit through.
On the other hand, if you don’t want your panels covered up and would rather let the rain pass right through onto the solar panel itself, choose a mesh top with no bottom at all.
There are also some covers that have only one side open so it’s easy for workers to fix anything without having to remove the cover entirely.
Pricing for these panels are relatively low, usually around $30 per panel, which isn’t too bad when you consider how expensive it would be to fix broken solar cells on your own if they get badly damaged by hail or heavy rain.
However, one of the most important things about using a protective cover is how effective it is.
Studies show that most strong covers can protect your panels from hail up to one inch in diameter, which is about the size of a large marble or small gumball.
On average, these types of covers are between 80 and 90 percent effective against debris such as hail and heavy rain when they’re not equipped with an awning or roof overhang.
However, they’re only about 70 percent effective when there is a rooftop covering above them.
In addition to how effective these covers are against hail and rain, solar panel protection covers also need to be cleaned regularly so that it doesn’t get clogged with dirt which can reduce the performance of your panels even more.
The best way to clean these covers is by spraying them with a hose and wiping it down every now and then.
3. Add A Layer Of Methacrylate To Your Panels
Methacrylate is a protective material that is known for its great resistance to hail.
There are two different types of methacrylate that can be used on solar panels: either it’s sprayed onto the glass surface or else added as a thin layer over the top of your panel itself.
If you choose to spray it, make sure not to cover up any part where electricity is conducted through (the metal areas), as this will cause your panels to short out.
It’s also important how much methacrylate you use since too little won’t be effective, and using more than necessary can block the sunlight that reflects onto the panel itself.
Adding a layer of methacrylate is considered by many to be more cost effective than using solar panel protection covers since it doesn’t require you to purchase anything extra and only costs you the time it takes to spray this layer onto your panels.
In fact, you can buy this type of protective layer for as low as 50 cents per square foot, which means that covering all your panels will only end up costing around $50 total.
The best part about how this works is that it won’t affect how your panels work, so you don’t have to worry about any negative impacts on performance or other things like that.
4. Build A Wire Gauge To Protect Your Panels
If you don’t want to go with either solar panel protection covers or adding methacrylate can help protect your panels, then another great idea is how to build a wire gauge.
You’ll be using wire mesh or something similar-like PVC pipes to cover your panels so that they remain protected from big hail.
The best part about using a wire gauge is how easy it is to build and how cheap the materials are, with most people spending around $20-$30 total on a set of materials for one of these.
However, you need to consider how many panels your gauge is going to protect and how big it’s going to be before designing how this will work.
In addition, how many wires you’ll be using is also important since a gauge with more wires tends to be better at protecting against wind and hail while still being able to allow sunlight through so that your panels can work effectively.
If you’re concerned about how this type of protection may affect how much sunlight reaches onto your panels or how much rainwater can seep through over time, then consider adding another layer above the panels.
5. Install An Automatic Solar Panel Angle System
An automatic solar panel angle system is how you can make sure that your panels always get sunlight no matter how strong the wind blows or how much rain falls, but it can also be really useful at protecting solar panels form hail.
This is mainly because the angle of your panel plays a vital role in how much damage hail can have on them.
When you install solar panels, you mainly tilt them towards the sky to increase the light receiving area and get the most of sunlight.
This also makes your panels more susceptible to hail damage.
However, if you have an automatic solar panel angle system, you can easily adjust the panels to make them vertical, which significantly reduces the surface area, resulting in less risk of being hit by hail.
One disadvantage of this system is that you need to manually adjust the angle using a remote, so if you are not home or you simply didn’t watch the weather forecast, then it would be useless.
6. Follow The Weather Forecast Predictions
This brings us to the sixth tip to protect solar panels from hail, which is to stay up to date with the weather forecast.
By doing this, you can easily make sure that your panels are protected from hail as soon as it starts to rain or storm.
In addition, if the weather is going to be bad in a few days, then you should consider how often and how much water gets on your solar panels since they will definitely need more maintenance when there’s a lot of rain.
Some solar monitoring applications have built-in weather forecasts that can give you some predictions on how the weather will be tomorrow, so this is definitely something to look for.
7. Regularly Inspect Your Solar Panels
As mentioned before, solar panels are very durable. However, if not maintained regularly, they will be weakened by all the wind and hail damage and will eventually break.
This is why you should regularly inspect your solar panels since it’s one of the best ways how to protect solar panels from hail, especially if there are any signs that something might have damaged them.
So how exactly do you inspect them?
The first thing that you need to check is your solar panels’ glass.
If they are damaged or have small cracks, you should consider how this will affect their ability to produce electricity.
The second thing is how the frame of your solar panels looks like since it’s another indicator that there might be something wrong with them if it looks bent or warped in some way.
Specifically, you need to look how the racking system or how it’s attached to your roof and if there are any signs of damage such as dents, bends, cracks in the metal parts, rusting etc.
Even a small crack can jeopardize how strong this type of mounting system should be so you should really pay how to protect solar panels from hail and check it.
This is why you need a professional, so they can easily inspect your racking system for any signs of damage or missing parts that could have been hit by wind or hail resulting in the weakening of their structure.
In addition, you should also check how the grid inverter, or how it’s attached on your roof is looking since it can easily be damaged when there are strong winds.
If you notice any signs of damage on how to protect solar panels from hail, then they should immediately get in touch with a professional.
Finally, you should check your system performance by inspecting the voltage meter, which is connected to your panels, and make sure your solar panels are outputting a study current flow and voltage output.
If you have a monitoring app, then you can use it to check whether your system’s production is lower than average or not.
If it’s low, then this could be an indicator of hail damage.
How to protect solar panels from hail is something you should definitely consider if you want your system to last as long as possible.
If they are damaged by wind or hail, then this will lead to a big financial loss for you since it can affect the amount of electricity that gets produced and how much you can save on your electricity bill.
However, if you keep in mind these 7 tips and they will definitely contribute to protecting solar panels from hail.