Can Your Solar Panels Stand Up to Hail?

In an effort to reduce energy costs and invest in more sustainable practices, home solar panels have become more and more common. At first glance, these flat, grid-like panels may appear to be fragile. However, solar panels are made to be durable and long-lasting.

Homeowners who have invested in these means of long-term, renewable energy want to protect their investment. Since solar panels go on roofs and other outdoor areas, they are made with nature in mind and can handle rain, snow and debris.

But can solar panels stand up to the power of hail storms? Read on to learn about our solar panel hail protection tips.

Solar Panels and Hailstorms

Solar panels for homes are a sustainable way to utilize renewable energy. Solar panels offer a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Lowering or even eliminating expensive energy bills
  • Providing offers for certain tax credits and rebates
  • Improving your home’s value over time
  • Low-maintenance energy solution

These panels are made with solar cells that can absorb sunlight and transfer it into energy in the form of electricity. All it takes are several solar panels on your roof to power your entire home and completely eliminate your monthly power bill.

But what happens when the seasons change, and we see an uptick of wind, rain, thunderstorms, and the occasional hailstorm? In Central Virginia, we’ve had cases of severe thunderstorms that led to golf ball-sized hail in the area and wind gusts up to 60 mph. In the spring and summer months especially, we’ll see a range of weather incidents that can cause severe harm to homes.

Solar panels are made of reinforced protective material like laminate or acrylic that are held together with a sturdy frame. They are meant to be as protective as traditional roofs and shingles. Wind and rainstorms should be no issue for your solar panels — however, hail can damage even the toughest roofs, not to mention solar panels.

Weatherproofing Your Solar Panels

Any hail that is larger than an inch in diameter, such as golf ball or baseball-sized hail, can threaten your solar panels. There are several ways to protect your panels:

  • Use protective covers. Protective covers are usually made of a durable, weatherproof material. Covering up your panels will prevent them from creating energy, but it will save them from damage. A cover can also increase the lifespan of your solar panels. An alternative to custom or individual protective covers can include a wire mesh that prevents large hail from hitting your panels directly.
  • Add them to your homeowner’s insurance. In the event that Central Virginia has a hail storm this summer, your solar panels may need only minor repairs. In some cases, a panel may need to be completely removed or replaced. Most traditional roofs usually require some repairs after a damaging hail storm. Any of these instances should be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.
  • Adjust your panels accordingly. During the installation process, your installer should install the panels to the correct angles for maximum energy collection. If you can make automatic panel angle adjustments, you can shift your solar panels away from direct damage. It’s important to adjust them back to the correct positioning following the storm to continue to benefit from solar energy.
  • Check your panels before the storm. If you find a small crack in one of your solar panels, it’s important to remove and repair it, as a small crack can quickly become a large and expensive crack after a hailstorm.

Solar Panel Maintenance

Fortunately, hailstorms are few and far between. Solar panels are built to withstand most other weather events and continue to provide you with sustainable and renewable energy. Like all other home appliances and systems, it’s important to keep up with panel maintenance. Here are our top three tips to keep your solar panels in excellent condition:

  1. Schedule annual inspections. In the spring, we recommend having your solar panels inspected by a certified technician to ensure they’re working properly. They’ll also be able to identify if any panels need readjusting to keep them at the ideal angle for sunlight exposure.
  2. Clean them regularly. A good rule of thumb is to set up a regular cleaning schedule for your solar panels—just like any other major appliance in your home. Dust and debris can build up over time and impact the amount of sunlight that reaches your panels. Thick layers of snow and ice can also cause issues.
  3. Repair minor issues. If you spot a small crack in the panel’s glass or notice a sudden spike in your energy bill, it’s important to get the damaged solar panel repaired right away.

Have more questions about solar panels? Give the experts at Bradley Mechanical a call today, and we’ll help you out.

Learn More About Solar Panels.

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