10 Simple Ways on How to Protect Solar Panels from Hail
Every year, the hail season causes a lot of concern among people who buy solar panels for their homes because they believe that significant damage can come from that natural phenomenon.
That’s why here we bring to you 10 simple ways to protect your solar panels from hail.
But before we start, let’s take a little time to answer a big question.
Are solar panels hail proof?
The short answer is: Yes.
Something all companies can agree is that the threat that hail imposes to solar panels is almost nonexistent, as manufacturers create their products based on that kind of problem.
Almost all known damage from hail and other natural phenomena is infrequent, as the companies always make a rough test for this, to deliver a quality product that buyers can rely on.
If you’re about to spend thousands of dollars on a solar system that is supposed to last several decades, it’s evident that you want to be sure to invest in a piece of equipment that cannot be ruined on a day of extreme weather.
It’s a valid concern.
The ambiguity of hail resistance and impact tests for solar panels can be frustrating.
We can assure you that there is little to worry about because any high-quality solar panel is designed to be beaten and has been tested accordingly.
Although you probably won’t find a manufacturer’s warranty that covers hail damage, any reputable brand will test its solar panels to obtain industry-recognized quality certifications.
In North America, these tests are made with constant impacts of a 2.18-inch diameter 2-inch ball that was dropped at a distance of 51 inches and weighed 5 pounds.
In the United Kingdom, solar panels are also a good option, as the demand for these devices has been increasing in the past decade, so this tells us that solar energy is a serious thing all over the world.
Also, equipping our home with the right equipment can be a complicated and doubtful task for consumers.
But if you have a guide like this at hand, the shopping experience will be safer, and your concerns will be resolved immediately.
So, without further ado, here’s our list for you.
1. A Layer of Methacrylate
A very simple way is to apply a thin layer of methacrylate to protect the most fragile areas of the solar panels.
This should be done as carefully as possible so as not to interfere with the proper functioning of the cells by blocking the access line to the power supply.
Coating the panels with an additional layer of “armor” may be a good idea as this plastic material reinforces the panels doubling the durability.
Finding the appropriate methacrylate plates is also very important, as higher quality indicates that they will endure more impacts, and that translates in less money spent.
You can also assemble a piece of plexiglass 1 inch thick larger than the dimension of the panel, on top of the panel with space between the two layers.
This is one of the simplest and safest ways to making sure that your panels will be protected not only form hail but from many other events apart from nature.
2. Arranging the Panels in an Angle for Hail to Slide
Another option that could be very viable and simple is to mount the panels on the pole, then tilt them to the entire vertical when a hail forecast is predicted.
It’s something straightforward to do since it only takes 5 minutes to do, and a couple of tools.
This simple but very effective adjustment will make the surface of the solar panel completely out of danger, as the readjustment mitigates all possible damage.
Additionally, some type of rail could be added at the upper end of the panel to protect the top edges from damage.
With this simple trick, you avoid the accumulation of hail, with a more pronounced fall, so that any material slides.
As you can see, it’s an effortless but effective way of protecting your solar equipment, without spending any money on it, just a little while on a sunny afternoon.
3. Do a Wider Research Based on Your Situation
If you think that solar panels are good to go option for you, then you should do a little more research about it.
One suggestion is to log on to this site so you can inform yourself of this kind of technology, and choose the most suitable options for you.
It’s essential to determine how efficient solar panels would be in their area as well as offer referrals regarding the purchase, installation, and tax breaks.
Also, it’s crucial that you, as a consumer, know all the basics about this kind of energy.
It’s one of the safest and cleanest sources of power for domestic use, and contrary to what you may believe, it isn’t expensive.
4. Always Be on the Lookout for the Weather Reports
It may not sound helpful or practical, but let’s be honest here, making a follow up of the weather reports can make a huge difference for you when you have to deal with this kind of problems.
You can go with your local weather office to inform yourself about any incoming forecast that may look bad.
You’ll get a detailed report that notifies you about any impending hail storms or severe weather attacks that may be coming soon.
Taking a look into more specialized web sites can also be very helpful because you can track all natural phenomena from your home without much trouble.
Also, you can hire an insurance coverage to help you with any kind of unforeseen consequence that may come and could take you off guard.
5. Try to Fix the Damage in a Panel Instead of Buying a New One
It’s but common sense not to throw money in the trash, and we continuously look for ways to save as much as possible.
It may sound a little obvious to do, but it kind of makes sense because rather than replacing the whole solar panel, you may just need to replace a frame, and your solar panel is right to go, and as said before, you will save some money.
It’s essential to know what you’re buying to comprehend the capabilities of your panels and how to rely on them.
If you purchase solar panels, carefully read the warranty, so you’ll know what types of damage it covers.
In many cases, homeowners’ insurance will take care of any necessary repairs or replacements.
On the Internet, you can find eco-friendly sites and publications, where groups of people with the same concerns as you offer excellent sources for getting information on solar energy.
If you know to do it give it a try and put that experience to work, otherwise, it’s best to let a professional do the heavy work.
6. Cleaning Robots
Technology changes rapidly, and just when you think that you’re at the forefront of it, you discover that you’re not.
Technology around robots has been advancing exponentially, making possible things that only appeared in movies and sci-fi stuff.
These particular automated systems offer great benefits, as they can clean the solar panel in less time, and they can wash each solar panel with just half a glass of water.
This is the equivalent of 90% less than what a person would use to wash solar panels by hand in a traditional way.
This is a point in favor considering that a good portion of the solar plants that are installed around the globe are placed in the desert where the sun is abundant, but water is scarce.
It may sound expensive, but to date, some viable options can be acquired with a mid to low budget.
7. Get to Know your Product: How Much Damage Your Solar Panels Can Withstand
This one is significant and should always be on our minds because let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter if we spend thousands on a top of the line product if we don’t know how to take care of it.
We must always keep in mind how much a product we buy can withstand against nature and human conditions.
According to research from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a survey was made about solar photovoltaic systems that were installed in the U.S. between 2009 and 2013.
It was found that only 0.1% of a sample of fifty thousand were damaged or classified as malfunctioned each time they took their yearly review.
This means that solar panels have outstanding durability when it comes to extreme weather patterns.
Generally, solar panels can endure hailstones up to one inch in size (25mm) at a falling speed of 50 miles per hour.
To give you an idea of how this translates in a real scenario, back in 2017, the NREL campus in Golden, CO, faced a devastating hail storm that shattered car windows and left dents in homeowners’ roofs.
Surprisingly, of the 3,000 panels on their building, only one was broken, which means you can trust that your panels hold up pretty well in the face of danger.
8. Keep a Constant Eye on the Performance of Your Panels
It may sound obvious, but monitoring the performance of your panels is something that many people tend to forget and take it for granted that the devices will always work correctly.
Solar panels have a life span of over 20 years, but that doesn’t mean they will always work correctly without making constant performance checks on them.
And the bad part comes when the performance goes down, and nobody notices it because we as consumers may expect no error is coming from those devices, because they’re supposed to work for decades.
You can buy a monitoring system that needs to be installed professionally by a minimum fee, or with the purchase of a monthly subscription.
It sounds pricy, but it’s more expensive to continually replace your panels because nobody cared for them at the right moment.
9. Make Sure the Energy Usage is Always on Point
Knowing how much electricity our home uses and what all that power is consumed on is the first step to regulate consumption properly.
In this way, we will know what the exact cost of each panel is, and we will be able to carry out exhaustive monitoring that has an impact on energy savings.
This will prevent our solar panels from suffering an overload or some damage that leads them to spend more energy than they produce.
However, this fact does not mean that it’s vitally important to understand how we can follow up to manage and reduce the amount of energy we use.
Much of the energy we consume comes from non-renewable sources.
It’s essential to promote energy savings to reduce production needs and environmental pollution.
And solar panels are one of the best and cleanest ways to produce energy for our homes without spending too many resources on it.
Regardless of our particular situation and personal consumption habits, we must always be responsible for the use of this type of renewable energy.
10. Call for a Technician Once or Twice a Year
Even if you’re very careful with your devices, there should be no problem to call a technician to do a regular check on your solar panels.
A solar energy technician may help construct and install active systems, which require solar panels.
Many of these workers in the solar energy market are experienced trade workers who have completed an apprenticeship program, so you don’t have to worry if they know what are they doing.
These professionals can quickly discover problems that may appear normal to you and increase the life span of your panels because, as said before, they’re prepared for this kind of task.
The company where you bought your panels may offer you free service or for a minimal fee, or you can look for a professional at a regular cost.
Whatever your choice is, you may be sure that they will run a full diagnosis on your equipment, and they will tell you if there is a problem that needs to be solved.