Solar panels are designed to perform outdoors and the surface can remain productive in most dangerous situations. Protecting solar panels from hail is a challenging part of this outdoor energy source.
When the solar panel is affected by hail, it can be destroyed and unproductive due to physical damages.
Most of the users are worried about the protection and they don’t know what to do with a damaged solar panel. In general, consumers ask for safety, repairing costs, and the pre-installation process.
In this writing, we present 6 effective ways to protect solar panels from hail and guide you on how to repair or replace the damaged panel.
What Happens If Your Solar Panels Are Damaged From Hail?
Solar panels are a combination of solar cells and the main material is silicon. You will find monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels.
These cells are connected and they generate electricity from the sun. The electric voltage passes via solar cells that you might notice on the top.
It is similar to an electrical circuit and the lines that are drawn on the surfaces are connecting cells.
When solar panels get hit by hail, the cells get damaged and the connection loses its path. You will notice the change or damage of the solar panel on the charge controller.
As a consumer, it is safe not to touch the panel when it is damaged. The reason is you will be shocked by the voltage because the panel is still connected to the charge controller and getting sunlight. So, it can produce electricity after getting major hits from hail.
The surface of the solar panel is stronger than a normal steel shed, only large hail can damage the panels.
It is better to call a professional to inspect the panel and decide what to do with it. Please don’t touch the damaged solar panel for removing dust, hail, or leaves after a storm and rain.
On the contrary, a damaged solar panel is harmful to the environment. It will be a waste item that contains plastics and other metal parts.
It is not only harmful and dangerous for you and the environment, but also costly to repair. You have to pay $200 to $1200 depending on the solar panel’s condition.
Automatic Change Panels’ Angle
Solar panel’s angle and pitch matter more when installing solar panels for your home. We have a complete guide on solar panel’ angle on this post, you can check it to know more.
If you are searching for an outstanding solution that is out of the box, automatic panel angle changing is the latest technology that will enable you to take control of the panel’s angle and position.
You can install a solar panel moving device with remote control. It will help you to change the position of the panel from horizontal to vertical line.
The slope will remove the hails from the panel automatically during rainfall.
However, it is a costly solution to protect solar panels from hail. You have to purchase remote control moving devices that will cost more than $1000 depending on the size and weight of the panel.
At the same time, you can not do anything with a remote control system, if you are not at home during the hail. The system can’t do anything.
So, you need an automatic angle-changing device that is more expensive than your solar panel’s price.
It will not be a good solution if you consider the price. So, it is suggested to try other effective ways to protect solar panels from hail and if you can’t do that for your limitation then use the automatic angle changing option only.
6 Effective Ways to Protect Solar Panels from Hail
We research the ways that will help you to protect solar panels from hail. These are effective ways and you will get a perfect solution for your outdoor power unit.
Every solution has some advantages and disadvantages but our goal is to present the trusted solution in a transparent way to you.
In a short instruction, there are six Effective Ways to Protect Solar Panels from Hail:
- Use Protective Covers
- Having a Layer of Methacrylate
- Allow Hail to Slide (Arrange the Panels at an Angle)
- Always Aware Of Weather Predictions
- Use Cleaning Robots
- Call for a Technician Once or Twice a Year
Let’s explore more.
Solar Panel Protective Covers (pros and cons)
To reduce the risk, you can use solar panel protective covers in the season when there is a chance of hail.
You will find a wide range of solar panel protective covers in the market but all the covers are not suitable for hail protection.
Hail falls at a great speed and you need a stronger cover to keep the solar panel safe. It will also help you to protect against dust, rain, and leaves.
The main problem is that it will decrease productivity because the cover also protects sunlight. Due to the lack of direct sunlight, it will produce less energy than before.
But, you can use a cover for the rainy season only. It enables you to protect hail and keep the productivity the same.
Having a Layer of Methacrylate
Methacrylate is a strong bond of polymer plastic. A coating of methacrylate will create a protective layer on the surface of the solar panel.
You can use this coating to establish a foaming-type protective layer on the top of the panel. It is very thin and sunlight can easily pass through this coating.
It can protect the solar panel’s surface from hail.
Allow Hail to Slide (Arrange the Panels at an Angle)
This is the natural solution to protect your solar panels from hail. A good angle will slide hail from the panel and force them to move from the surface.
South-facing solar panels can do it easily and during extreme weather, it will be workable for every solar panel that is installed at a good angle and pitch.
It will also keep the solar panel clean and flow water easily.
Always Be on the Look for Weather Predictions
Preparing your solar system for extreme weather will increase the possibility to keep it safe. If you concentrate on the weather forecast, you can go forward with the necessary steps to make a reliable solution.
Hazardous weather like storms, hail, and thunderstorms can bring danger to the solar panels. After getting the weather forecast, you can wrap the solar panel with a cover.
This is the most recent technology that you can use for solar panel cleaning. But, if you have a limited budget this is not for you.
It will be beneficial for cleaning large amounts of solar panels within a short time. This technology is mainly designed for commercial solar systems.
You have to purchase a minimum number of robots based on the solar panel count.
Always Call for a Technician Once or Twice a Year
You have to do regular maintenance to keep the solar panel productive. Professional technicians understand the physical and internal issues of a solar panel well.
You can not understand the problem from ordinary inspection. They will help you to test the power production rate and current condition of the panel.
So, call a technician once or twice a year.
Try To Fix Damage on Your Panel Before Buying a New One
What do you prefer when you have a damaged solar panel? Repair or buy a new one?
We talked with experts and analyzed the market to get the answer to the above question. You should repair the damaged one first. When it will be not possible to recover, you might go for a new solar panel.
The main reason is the cost and you can save more when you repair a damaged solar panel. You can repair a large solar panel at $200 to $1200 while you need $300 to $1500 to buy a new solar panel depending on the wattage. Besides, you need to hire a professional to install the solar panel again.
It will cost you twice including the solar panel’s price and installation costs.
Inspect the solar panel’s condition first and decide what to do with it. This estimation is the initial step when you are trying to fix a damaged solar panel.
Secondly, you need to call a professional and test the power output of the panel along with its physical condition. If the condition remains good and the expert thinks that it is repairable, go for it.
At the same time, if the solar panel’s physical and electrical condition is out of control, you can buy a new solar panel. It saves more when purchasing a new panel instead of an extremely destroyed panel.
In conclusion, it can be said that solar panels work in bad weather and you have to follow some steps to help the panel remain productive.
You can also follow the effective steps that we have mentioned above and it would be better to clean the panel frequently.
Don’t touch the damaged solar panel and if possible remove the connection from the charge controller and battery.
Automatic angle-changing devices and robot cleaning technology are perfect for commercial solar systems. Our suggestion is to inspect and clean the panel with a professional solar cleaning agency.