Have you just forked out a lot of money to have solar panels installed on your property? If so, you may be wondering how you can best protect them from any damage caused by hail or storms.
This is a very understandable concern, as these panels are exposed to the elements and they can be very expensive to repair. This article will explore the ways that you can protect your solar panels from the dangerous outdoors!
What Are Solar Panels?
Investing in solar panels on your home is a great way to increase the value of your house, while also being great for the environment. Effectively, solar panels allow you to generate all the energy you need so that you are self-sufficient energy wise.
Depending on your location, you may also produce even more energy from your solar panels than you need!
Why Get Solar Panels?
Solar panels add a lot of value to your house as well as being environmentally friendly. There is also evidence that solar panels are very much in demand, and your house will sell a lot quicker if it includes solar panels.
It is worrying though, especially if you live in an area prone to hail, that your solar panels that cost you a fair amount of money might get damaged by hailstones.
Are Solar Panels Hail-Proof?
Solar panels are hail-proof and they should not get damaged by them. All companies that sell and install solar panels agree that hail poses no threat to them.
However, while it is extremely rare that hail can cause damage to the solar panels, it is understandable that you want to do everything in your power to stop them from being damaged by hail!
It is true that the solar panel companies can’t say for certain that a hail storm will not damage their product.
Can Extreme Weather Damage Solar Panels?
Despite the durability of most solar panels, severe weather conditions can cause damage to them. This is because your solar panels are made of glass, and so severe weather can break this glass, specifically severe hail.
Because of this risk, below are 7 ways that you can protect your solar panels from damage. Solar panels are very expensive things to invest in, and so it is essential that you look after them as much as you can.
7 Ways To Protect Solar Panels From Hail
Ensure The Hail Can Slide Off The Solar Panels
One great way to protect your solar panels from hail, is to ensure they are installed at an angle which will allow the hail to slide off them without causing damage. This is a very simple way to ensure that they are not in danger.
On top of this, you could consider attaching a protective rail to the top of your solar panels to ensure that the top edges are protected from this adverse weather.
If you can’t permanently place your solar panels at an angle, or if your sun exposure will be largely limited if you do this, you could always opt for a mounting framework which allows you to be flexible with the angle of your solar panels.
Usually, this device allows you to move your panels to stand vertically when there is severe weather expected. When you move them to the vertical angle, less surface space is available for the hail to land on your solar panels and cause damage.
Make Sure You Purchase Solar Panels That Suit Your Environment
Weather is completely unpredictable, but more so in certain climates. If you live in an area where things like hail affect you very often, you may want to consider this in your decision.
Talk to the experts and see if they consider it a problem if your area is more prone to adverse weather. If they do, you could always ask about extra protection or coverage.
Take Out Insurance On The Solar Panels
While many solar panel companies will provide you with a warranty that covers damage caused by the weather, some may not. If yours doesn’t, or your product is now out of warranty, consider taking out some insurance on your product.
As solar panels are very expensive things to buy and install, paying for some protection each month will be better in the long run if any damage does occur!
Check your homeowners insurance before you do this, though, as this may cover the solar panels!
Fix Rather Than Replace
If you have experienced damage to your solar panel from a hail storm, it may not be as expensive as you first thought.
To make the fix slightly cheaper, you could always have a look at the solar panel to determine if the whole thing needs to be replaced. In many instances, you will just need to replace the frame rather than replacing the whole solar panel.
Check the warranty and your homeowners insurance before you fork out any money for these fixes from your own pocket! These kinds of situations are what insurance is for so it might be worth having a look!
If you know how to do it yourself or think you can learn, do that! However, it is quite a complicated and dangerous job so it might be easier to get someone to do it.
Use Solar Panel Protective Covers
Buying a solar panel protective cover is a simple way to ensure that your solar panels remain intact during adverse weather. When severe storms or hail is forecast, you can simply get your hail protector out and put it over your solar panel.
If you don’t have one of these covers, or you are struggling to find one to fit your panel, you could alternatively use a blanket, a piece of tarpaulin, or some plywood.
Whatever you use, ensure that the solar panels do not get scratched, and you don’t end up causing more damage than the storm would have!
If you don’t fancy climbing on the roof to cover your solar panels everytime a storm is forecast, or you live in an area with unpredictable weather, you can get a permanent cover for your solar panel.
This comes in the form of a transparent plexiglass. It does have some downsides, though, as it makes the solar panels slightly less effective. It minimizes the absorption of the sun into the panel which means it creates less energy.
Get Your Solar Panels Serviced Every Now And Again
No matter how much effort you put into protecting your solar panels, they are out there in the elements and are likely to come into some damage at some point.
To prevent this damage from occurring, you could always get someone to come and check your solar panels on a regular basis. Once or twice a year is plenty.
As they will be experienced technicians, they will be able to diagnose any problems before they become bigger problems, increasing the lifespan of the solar panels on your house. They will also be able to perform any small touch-ups.
Check The Weather
Keeping yourself up to date with the weather forecast may seem like a silly piece of advice, however, if you have temporary protectors it is best to put these up before the bad weather hits!
Trust me, it’s not a pretty picture to see yourself up on the roof covering your solar panels in the middle of a hail storm! Protect yourself as well as your solar panels by keeping on top of the weather.
This is also important if you opt for a mounting framework as you will need some time to ensure that the solar panels have been effectively repositioned.
Other Important Maintenance Tips
Yes, they are exactly what you think they are!
Cleaning robots may sound scary, but they are actually very useful when it comes to cleaning your solar panels! It takes away the danger of you washing your solar panels by hand.
It also is a fantastic automated way of cleaning your solar panels which is much more environmentally friendly, as these robots only use half a glass of water to wash one solar panel! This is much less than we would use if we washed them by hand!
These are very useful when it comes to cleaning your solar panels and there have been some cleaning robots specifically manufactured to clean the solar panels.
Most solar panel warranties include the damage of hail stones. So, if your solar panel has been damaged by hail, you will be able to get this fixed within the warranty period.
Make sure you check this when purchasing your solar panels as it can be very important to ensure!
Diagnosing A Problem
In order to ensure that your solar panels are performing to their top ability, and there is nothing wrong with them, you should keep an eye on how much energy they are catching.
If you notice a change, this could indicate that there is a problem with your solar panels, and you may want to call a technician in.
Your solar panels should last over 20 years if they are used correctly, however, you should be checking them throughout their life to make sure they are not being wasted!
There are monitoring systems available that will allow you to check on the performance of your solar panels. These can be installed and paid for in one go or on a monthly basis.
You should also keep an eye on how much you are saving on your energy bills to make sure that you are not taking the cost effective energy system for granted.
While it is the best way to produce energy for our homes, you should ensure that you are not over using your energy, as using this energy still does increase pollution.
While all of these additions might seem expensive, it is always better in the long run to take care of them, or they may end up costing more and causing more problems in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Dangerous To Touch Damaged Solar Panels?
You have to be very careful when you are dealing with damaged solar panels. Often, the glass from the panel will have smashed, meaning you are at risk of cutting yourself on the broken glass.
As well as this though, there is also a danger that the solar panels are still producing a voltage. This can happen even when the network supply has been disconnected, so be very careful here!
This is why it is highly recommended that you get a professional in to check your solar panels and fix any problems, because they are quite dangerous to work with if you’re not confident on what you’re doing.
Are Solar Panels Protected From Rainfall?
When you purchase your solar panel, they will usually offer protection against damage caused by rain, snow and often hail. They should not get damaged by the rain in the first place, however, if they do, make sure to check your warranty or house insurance!
Are Solar Panels Suitable For All Climates
Yes, they are. You may think that, if you live in a frequently cloudy area, the solar panels will not generate enough electricity. However, they will grab all the solar energy that is available, making them still very cost effective in the long run!
Unless you live somewhere that is dark all of the time, they will be beneficial. However, in less sunny environments, you will generate less energy from them than in sunnier climates.
How Do I Protect My Solar Panels From Birds?
You can protect your solar panels from birds using mesh wire protection. The birds definitely won’t be able to get under that and it definitely won’t affect the amount of solar energy your panels absorb!
Ask your solar panel manufacturer for more information!
What Weather Is Best For Solar Panels?
Sunny weather is the most effective way to produce energy from your solar panels. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get them if you don’t live in an environment that is always sunny, however.
Manufacturers of solar panels do reassure buyers that solar panels have been built to withstand the weather. However, there are also some extra precautions that you can take to help to protect yours even further!
Now you have read up on the 7 ways to protect your solar panels from hail, you have the best chance of keeping your solar panels damage free!