Hailstorms are a common occurrence in many parts of the United States. When solar panels are not installed to withstand hail, they can be damaged and stop functioning.
Solar panels are subjected to hail tests and have been certified to resist hails up to 25 mm (one inch) in diameter striking at a speed of 23 meters per second (approximately 50 miles per hour).
This guide will discuss solar panel damage from hail storms and why solar power is still a viable option for your home or business despite this risk.
Can Solar Panels Be Damaged by Hail?
When large hailstones strike solar panels, they can cause damage that endangers the solar panel’s function and its warranty.
The solar cells inside a solar panel are highly vulnerable to both large and small hailstones because they lack any physical protection like glass or plastic casing.
A solar panel hail test is conducted by firing hailstones at a panel at high speeds to see if the panel can withstand the impact.
Solar panels are certified to resist hails up to 25 mm (one inch) in diameter striking at a speed of 23 meters per second (approximately 50 miles per hour).
If hailstones are larger than the tested size or hit the panel with more force than what was simulated, the solar panel can be damaged.
This is why you will often see solar panels covered in protective sheeting to guard against hail damage. This protective sheeting can reduce solar system efficiency by blocking out light from solar cells that are not being used to power your home or business.
It’s important to have an expert monitor the solar energy system on your roof and remove the covering when necessary for optimal function.
If there is serious enough damage, your solar power systems may fail to function properly. This can result in a loss of energy savings and even lead to an interruption of solar service if the damage is not repaired or replaced quickly enough.
Hail isn’t the only cause of solar system damage from weather conditions. High winds, lightning strikes, heavy rain, snowfall accumulation, frost and ice buildup, and falling branches can also cause solar panels to malfunction.
By maintaining proper solar system care and solar systems maintenance throughout the year, solar power can remain a reliable and renewable energy source for your home or business. This ensures the durability of your panels remains at the optimal level.
How Do You Protect Solar Panels from Hail Damage?
Hail can do a significant amount of solar panel damage in just one storm. Most solar panels are designed to withstand winds, but they’re not indestructible and hail is a common weather event that poses a major risk to solar energy systems.
A solar panel hail protector such as a solar hail guard is a great way of protecting solar panels from hail. Solar hail guards are made of an impact-resistant material that helps deflect hailstones away from your solar panels.
Hail guards can be placed over the entire system or just over individual solar panels. They’re easy to install and don’t require any special tools or equipment.
To avoid solar panel damage from hailstorms, it’s important to choose solar panels that are designed to withstand extreme weather.
Manufacturers offer solar cells made of materials like tempered glass and thin-film technology, which can withstand the impact of hailstones, improve durability, and do not compromise energy production.
By installing solar panels with anti-hail features on your roof, you’ll get reliable solar power throughout the year and solar panel protection from hailstorms.
Always hire a professional to ensure your solar panel systems are installed properly. They will check that the solar panels stand on the roof and can withstand impacts from an impressive physical force.
Solar Panels Hail Damage Insurance
Hail has the potential to cause serious damage, even when it’s small. This is why many companies are now requiring hail coverage on homeowners’ policies in certain areas of the country where hail occurs frequently.
While your solar panels likely have a warranty that will cover you if they break or leak because of hail, there are other reasons why you should include hail damage insurance on your policy.
If you live in an area where hail occurs frequently, it’s important that you talk to your insurance company about whether or not you are required to have hail coverage.
If your panels are already installed, check with the manufacturer of your solar panels to find out what they will cover if damaged by hail.
If it is within their warranty, there’s a good chance that they’ll replace them for free. The warranties on these types of products are typically for the lifetime of your panels.
It can be expensive to get cover when living in an area where there is extreme rain but your solar panels are likely to last for decades, so it’s worth the investment.
It is important that your insurance policy includes hail damage if your solar panels are installed.
This is because it can be expensive to get insurance when living in an area where there are frequent hailstorms, but your solar panels are likely to last for decades, so it’s worth the investment, and this makes the insurance cost-effective.
Who Pays for Solar Panel Damage?
Replacement costs are typically covered by homeowners insurance. If replacement is necessary, the damaged panels will be replaced with new ones.
These replacement costs might not always extend to an entire roof of solar panels and can vary depending on your policy and local municipality ordinances.
However, some companies offer replacement coverage for free if you have a certain percentage of solar energy in your home or business electricity mix.
It’s also important to note that while most companies cover damages caused by hail and extreme weather, they may require documentation before making repairs such as pictures taken around the property showing hail damage prior to replacement installation being completed.
This could potentially leave you without power until all evidence has been submitted proving there was indeed damage done from the storm due to hail activity.
The replacement process can be very straightforward and easily completed within a few days, but replacement coverage is not necessary for every state.
We definitely recommend including hail coverage in your warranty. This will protect you from paying out of pocket should the need arise to replace your system due to storm damage resulting from hail activity.
We have discussed how solar panels react to hail storms and what kind of damage they can sustain.
We explained that solar panels are tested and designed to withstand hail but it is still important to have hail protection included in your warranty.
Please remember that if you are in an area with frequent torrential downpours or extreme weather conditions, it is best to purchase insurance that covers you and your solar system.