How to Protect Your Solar Panel from Hail?
The hail season often comes with terrible concerns for homeowners that rely on their solar panels for energy supply. This is because hails could be really damaging to solar panels. If you are looking for how to protect your solar panel from hail, here are some of the most effective methods.
What your Solar Panels Can Endure?
You need to understand what your solar panels can endure because it helps in knowing the sort of protection they need. Manufacturers of solar panels often include resistance to offer protection against elements such as rainfall, snow, and even hail. This is because solar panels are left directly exposed to these weather conditions. However, you need to understand that these resistances are, somewhat, specific in the sense that they may no longer be effective in the presence of very adverse weather conditions. Hence, understanding the extent to which the resistance can protect your solar panels affords you the chance to prepare ahead.
Generally, most solar panels can withstand up to 25mm of hail, dropping at a speed of fifty miles per hour. Therefore, you might not really be needing extra protection if you stay in locations with this range of hailfall.
Staying Informed About the Weather
Staying current with the weather forecast, in locations prone to heavy hailfall, will help you make adequate preparation needed to ensure your solar panels are well-protected. Although, it is ideal to make these preparations if you know the hailfall in your area exceeds the general 25mm that most solar panels can bear. However, knowing forecasts helps you to anticipate the level of preventive measures you should take. It helps you understand whether to get the solar panel a great cover or to uninstall, especially if the forecast predicts a terribly heavy hailfall.
Hail isn't the only thing you need to watch out for, as far as your solar panel is concerned. Very heavy rainfall and wind may also dislodge and damage your solar panel, and saturate them with so much water than their waterproof resistance or wind rating can bear. Thankfully, most high-quality solar panels come in an aluminum frame and glass casing to provide sufficient support against harsh weather.
The cover could be from high-grade plastic, which is the comments, methacrylate, or plexiglass that is an inch thicker than your solar panel. Depending on your preference, these additional armors offer good protection and additional resistance to the impact of a heavy hailfall.
For locations with a more terrible hailstorm, you may opt for creating some sort of barrier, over your solar panel, using mesh stainless steel. This is most ideal for solar panels constructed separately on a pole as against those installed on roofs. All you have to do is to create a frame, perhaps using aluminum, in desired length and shape as the installation of your panels may require. Then spread one-inch mesh over the frame. It is almost impossible for hails to pass through a mesh with an inch opening without having its impact reduced as soon as it hits the mesh.
This barrier should be installed at least five feet over your solar installation and you will hardly experience any form of damage after a hailstorm. You may construct in such a way that the aluminum and stainless steel mesh is removable after the hail season. As for whether the mesh would reduce direct sunlight, yes it will but it will only rob your solar panels of approximately twelve percent of direct sunlight which is quite a reasonable price to pay for protection.
Install your Panels to Slide Hails Off
It is important that you do not install your panels too flat on your roof or wherever you want them installed. Heavy hailfall on solar panels, that are installed flat, has a more damaging impact. Instead, try installing your panels in a way that allows hail or water to slide off them. To minimize impact, try installing your solar on poles rather than on roofs and arrange them to slant or slope downwards.of course, in doing this remember to tilt towards the direction of sunlight so that you can get optimal energy while protecting your panels from likely hail damage. Tilting your panels will protect the solar panel surface, which is most prone to damage, away from danger. It mitigates possible damage and leaves the less delicate part open to the impact that, almost often, has no effect.
Nothing Beats Being Insured
While having a solar panel cover might be a fancy option, never forget to ensure your solar panel. This is even better if your solar panel is for commercial purposes and you have invested a lot in installing them. Covers may not provide a hundred percent protection during a very terrible storm or hurricane that is then accompanied by hailfall. That is why getting an insurance policy seems to be the most comprehensive protection you may give yourself. Hence, should your solar panels get damaged, there is a policy that is readily available to get you new ones especially when the damage is irreparable.
Also, an insurance policy might be a lot cheaper option, in the long run, than some other fictitious options that are more expensive to install and won't even offer complete protection against adverse weather damage.
Protection and Maintenance
As important as it is to protect your solar panels, it is equally important to have them maintained regularly. Regular maintenance will help you detect damages that may be complicated by hailstorm and other adverse weather conditions. Furthermore, it could be regular check-ups after a hailstorm to make sure that the entire installation is damage-free and working at an optimal level. That is why it is highly recommended to seek technical maintenance from professional at least twice a year, for periodic maintenance, or after a heavy hailstorm.
Since these technicians are professionals, they help you detect damages that aren’t only superfluous, damages that you might not be able to detect but they can detect using topnotch testing kits.
What to Do After Solar Panel Damage?
While some brands may offer warranty to cater to an event of damage that happens within a particular time, others might not. Most solar panels are covered with glass protection which may break as a result of the impact from hailstones which may be greater than the resistance present in the panels.
However, most of these damages can be fixed by a professional technician which you may hire or which the manufactures may recommend. Fixing cracks and other minor damages would protect your solar panels from eventual damage. You have invested such a great amount in their installation, so fix them as soon as you notice the damage. As mentioned earlier, regular maintenance may help detect some of these damages while they are still fixable.
Solar panels are not cheap to install and that is why it is important to protect them from things that may get them damaged. Hailstones are one of those things that often cause irreparable damage to solar panels. We have explained, in detail, how to protect your solar panel from hail. By exploring the plastic cover options, mesh barrier, slant installation, and insurance, you will be saving yourself the financial burden of having to get yourself a new installation after every hailstorm.