Solar panels, in fact, have a long lifespan. They can withstand the vast majority of storms. In most circumstances, even hail cannot damage your solar panels.During exceptionally severe hailstorms, though, panels may be irreparably damaged.Many individuals are particularly concerned about hail storms when it comes to long-term home protection. This is because when it rains, solar panels on rooftops are hit exactly in the middle. You might flinch if you think of hearing hail smash solar panels.
Probability of hail damage to solar panels
Fortunately, major hailstorms are uncommon in the United States, and most solar panels are strong enough to withstand light to moderate impact. According to research conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the likelihood of hail breaking solar panels is less than 5%. Hail damage to solar panels is improbable, but not impossible.
People in states such as Texas, Colorado, and Nebraska, which have annual hailstorms, would benefit from knowing how solar panels perform in such settings.
Hailstorms and the destruction they cause are growing more common and costly throughout Europe and the Netherlands. The susceptibility of solar arrays to sudden, extreme weather has been illustrated by recent hail storms in northern Italy. To demonstrate the severity of the storms and, more significantly, the size of the hailstones, which reached 20 cm in diameter in certain cases.
In Canada, however, we discovered that solar panels are not infallible when tennis ball and baseball-sized hail hit the village of Cardston in southern Alberta. During the storm, one solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Cardston suffered damaged panels. Despite this, practically everything in Cardston was destroyed or seriously damaged by the hail. Indeed, it was reported that half of the vehicles at the local dealership were utter losses.
Critical elements influencing the impact of hail damage on solar panels
1. The Hail Speed
The speed with which hailstones can move is quite dangerous. Hail can travel at speeds ranging from 10 to 75 miles per hour. Because large hailstones move at higher speeds, they can cause more damage to solar panels.
2. Hailstone Dimensions
Researchers in the Netherlands discovered that hail larger than 3 centimetres in diameter is the most destructive to solar panels. Damage can be both visible and invisible at 3 cm, but at 4 cm, the quantity of visible damage increases dramatically.The average amount of damage caused by larger hailstones (greater than 4 cm) to solar panels is more than that caused by smaller hailstones, however the amount of damage caused by larger hailstones might vary significantly.
3. The Roof's Orientation in Relation to the Hail Direction
The size of the hailstones may not be as crucial as the orientation of the roof in relation to the direction of the hail, which may have a substantial impact on hail damage to solar panels, according to the researchers.
Certain research suggests that the angle of solar panels, as indicated by low angles on flat roofs and larger angles on pitched roofs, may influence the level of damage incurred by such panels. It has been discovered that solar panels positioned at low angles are more susceptible to damage.
During the hailstorms in Cardston, the homeowner erected the solar panels in a horizontal orientation, with no inclination towards the south. If the objects had been oriented to the south, it is likely that they would have been able to resist the impact of hail from the northwest without being immediately impacted.
How badly can hail damage solar panels?
Solar panels may become chipped, damaged, or even break open during heavy hailstorms.
1.Internal cracks will reduce the lifespan of solar panels.
Even if the outside of the module shows no evidence of cracking after a hailstorm, damage to the solar cells and other inner components is possible. Because microcracks, which are much smaller than a human hair, occur in the silicon rather than the front glass layer, there is no loss of initial yield. However, the damaged areas may suggest a rapid drop in power after a few months, and the micro-cracks on the outside of the panel become obvious after about a year. Any damage to a solar panel reduces its usable life.
2.Surface cracks will reduce the output of solar panels.
If a hailstorm develops surface cracks on solar modules, the efficiency of the panels would suffer. Solar panels that have cracks on the outside but continue to work should be repaired. These abnormalities, however, have the potential to limit solar output. If hail kills 15% of the panels' cells, the device will produce 15% less peak voltage. A simple approach to check is to take a voltage reading from the damaged panel.
3.External cracks will allow moisture to enter and create hot spots.
Water, moisture, or debris may become trapped inside cracked panels, causing them to malfunction or break before their time. If a broken surface develops hot spots, there is a risk of fire or other irreversible damage to interior components.
However, not all obvious defects have the same influence on efficiency. The damage could be minimal or noticeable only upon closer investigation.
What Kinds of Solar Panels Can Survive a Hailstorm?
1.Glass-Glass Solar Panels of Superior Quality
A high-quality solar panel will have a thick layer of tempered glass to safeguard its delicate components. Tempered glass has a long lifespan in outdoor settings due to its high impact resistance and ability to withstand moderate hail.
If you want your panel to withstand strong hailstorms, you should definitely choose a glass-glass panel over a glass-foil panel.
2. Solar panels with IEC61215 ratings
The global IEC 61215 certificate is quite important. The panels with this accreditation can withstand the impact of hail measuring 25 mm in diameter and falling at a speed of 23 m/s. This level of resilience corresponds to hail resistance class 2, according to the popular 5-point system used in Western nations.
3.IP68-rated solar panels
Another criteria that all rigid solar panels should achieve is IP68 certification. The IP68 classification of the panel ensures that it is dust and water resistant. Panels that have been certified for all hail threats are preferable, as hail can cause secondary damage by fracturing the panels and allowing leaks in.
All Maysun Solar products are IP68 and IEC61215 approved.
To survive hail, we recommend our best-selling TwiSun 410W Glass-Glass Black Frame Solar Panel, which has unrivalled performance and longevity.
Maysun Solar has been producing high-quality solar panels since 2008. Choose from a wide range of half-cut, MBB, IBC, and Shingled solar panels in full black, black frame, silver, and glass-glass finishes. These panels offer great performance as well as stylish styles that may be readily integrated into any building. Maysun Solar has established offices, warehouses, and long-term agreements with top installers in numerous countries. Maysun has installation experts working together in several European nations. Please contact us if you have any queries about PV or would want the most recent module quotes. Maysun may also assist you with photovoltaic system installation consultation. We are eager to assist you.
Cheng, M. (2023). What you need to know about solar power hail damage. Solar Reviews.
Ecoflow. (2023). 8 Ways To Protect Your Solar Panels from Hail Storm Damage. EcoFlow US Blog. Matalucci, S. (2023, July 26). How big must hailstones be to damage PV systems? Pv Magazine International.
Sauer, G. (2021). Hail vs. Solar Panels. SkyFire Energy.
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