How To Protect Solar Panels From Hail (Do This!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Hail is one of the most destructive types of storms that can occur in the United States, at least when it comes to roof and car damage. I was in my 30s the first time I saw this summertime phenomenon with my own eyes, and I was floored at how quickly ice hit everything. Surprisingly, many solar panels around me at the time were safe. I began to wonder how, so I researched it…

Hail is a serious menace to solar panels, but it’s not one that is insurmountable as far as protection goes. You can use any of these methods to keep your panels safe during hail and other storms:

  • Regular Cleanings
  • Learning About Your Panel
  • Getting A Solar Panel Cover
  • Maintaining Your Solar Panels

Keeping your panels intact is something that will require a lot of prep and a little attention. With our guide, you’ll be able to make sure that your solar panels stay safe regardless of the weather.

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How To Keep Your Solar Panels Safe From Hail (And Everything Else)

Solar panels are not as delicate as they initially appear to be, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need protection. We put together a list of all the protective things you can do to keep your solar panels in tip-top shape.

Regular Cleanings

When you see all those leaves stuck on your roof, it’s easy to assume that they will cushion the blow of hail. This isn’t true. Believe it or not, having a layer of grit or grime doesn’t actually protect your solar panels. If anything, having a dirty roof can make any potential damage to your home gets worse. The gunk from the leaves can jam into cracks, making a potentially fixable situation irreparable.

To keep your solar panels in top condition, you should try to give them a thorough cleaning (including leaf removal) at least twice a year. If you have a lot of trees near your home, then you might need to kick your cleaning schedule up a notch.

Learning About Your Panels

Not all solar panels are going to be equally prepped to handle hail. Some panels, for example, won’t be able to handle much in terms of impact. Others get built with a special reinforcement structure, making them ideal for hail. If you read up on the type of panels that you have you will be able to find out what the suggested manner of protection is—and when to start prepping for a storm.

With that said, learning about your specific panels can also help you find protective gear. Ideally, you’ll school yourself on solar panels before you get them installed. That way, you can choose the best panels for your home.

Getting A Solar Panel Cover

If you are in a place that’s known for having high levels of hail during the summer, then it might be a good idea to get a solar panel cover. These are special protective shields that are put up around the railing surrounding the panels, designed to help protect your solar panels from hail.

We suggest getting a hard shell cover with a clear coat if possible. If not, you might still be able to do something in terms of protection by using clear stickers graded for solar panel protection use. The “stickers” can help contain any holes that get into the panels as a result of hail and prevent further damage.

Maintaining Your Solar Panels

In this case, cleaning and maintenance aren’t always the same thing. Cleaning is a part of maintenance, but it’s not all of the maintenance. The big deal here is that you need to look at the panels and make sure they’re still secured onto your roof well. Once in a while, panels can come a little loose. If they do, it only takes a single knock from a ball of ice to cause them to go crashing down.

Keep a closer eye on the solar panels that you have. If you notice anything awry, it might be time to call the solar company for some service.

How Much Hail Can A Typical Solar Panel Handle?

Believe it or not, solar panels get held to a pretty high durability standard. A typical solar panel should be able to handle hail that’s as big as an inch in diameter going 50 miles per hour. So, most hail storms should not be an issue for your solar panel. If you aren’t sure what your panels can handle, ask your solar panel provider. You might be surprised at how sturdy they can be!

How Much Wind Can A Typical Solar Panel Withstand?

While wind is not the number one issue that people worry about, it’s still a major factor in storm-proofing. After all, winds do pick up during snowstorms and hail storms, too. It’s worth noting that most solar panels are reinforced to be durable at wind speeds up to 140 miles per hour. This makes solar panels a fairly hurricane-proof addition to your home.

How Much Weight Can A Solar Panel Hold?

Now, we don’t suggest standing on solar panels or practicing a tap dance routine. However, you can usually set foot on a solar panel without worrying about cracks. With that said, there is no set standard when it comes to the pressure that solar panels can withstand. If you aren’t sure what your solar panels can hold, the best thing you can do is to consult with your solar panel company.

Can You Get Your Solar Panels Insured?

Yes! And there are two ways to do this: through your homeowner’s insurance policy and through a separate policy that is totally geared towards the solar panels themselves. Both types of insurance will work to ensure that any damage you have due to hail or other disasters will be covered. It’s a very smart idea, especially when you consider the high price of getting your panels repaired.

Most insurance companies will be more than happy to offer a rider that covers your solar panels exclusively. This usually will only cost a couple of bucks per month, but it’s well worth the extra cash should a major hail storm hit your area.

How To File A Claim With Your Insurance Company

Let’s say that a major hail storm hits your area. Yikes, right? Well, the good news is that your insurer will be happy to help you out with the damages. This is what you need to know about filing a claim on your busted solar panels:

  • Call your insurance company as soon as the hail storm is over. If you have internet access, you might want to forward a news headline regarding the hail storm as additional evidence. It can help in claims, though it’s not usually necessary.
  • Go outside, and use your cellphone to take multiple photos of the damage. You also should take photos of other parts of your property covered by the policy. Chances are that your coverage will also extend to the windows and other parts of your roof that were hit by the hail.
  • Listen to the instructions given to you by your insurance company and follow-through. The insurer will undergo a claims process that will investigate everything and give you the proper amount of money. If you have any questions or need to see the progress, you can usually check on your online account.

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Related Questions

Can solar panels be left disconnected?

If you have solar panels in need of a little reconnecting, then you probably are wondering whether it’s safe to use them since they’ve been left alone for so long. Solar panels do not require a plug-in to remain safe for use. While keeping them connected is the only way to ensure they’ll provide electricity, there’s nothing wrong with leaving them disconnected.Though there’s nothing unsafe about having disconnected solar panels, you should test them out and inspect them for damage before plugging them in. Long-term disuse can speed up certain factors of wear and tear.

Can solar panels kill you?

Solar panels can pose a risk of shock if you have them installed incorrectly or if they are mishandled while damaged. However, that doesn’t mean they’re dangerous or deadly in most cases. As long as you have your solar panels well installed and they’re intact, there’s no reason to worry about touching them.If you believe that your solar panels may be damaged or pose a fire hazard, call a solar panel repair company immediately and disconnect the panels.

Can you install solar panels on a patio cover?

If you’re debating on a place to add solar panels, there are few places that are as great as a patio cover. Patio covers are a perfect surface for solar panel installations. Moreover, they tend to be in sunny places. This guarantees that you will be able to get a fair amount of electricity every day.It’s worth noting that patio covers are a good alternative to adding the panels to a metal roof. So if you want an easier point of installation, this is it.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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