Hail damage to solar panels is one of the biggest concerns homeowners have when considering installing a solar power system. It’s an especially pressing concern in Colorado because a good portion of our state resides in hail alley, a hotspot of hail activity in the U.S. So, it’s important to ask can hail damage solar panels in Colorado? Luckily, there are ways to mitigate the risk of hail damage to solar cells.
As the National Weather Service (NWS) reports, Colorado experiences over 300 days of sunshine each year, making it a great place to live and a great place to generate electricity from the sun. However, while some parts of the state enjoy sunny skies, others experience extreme weather conditions. In fact, every year, the Front Range region is besieged by booming thunderstorms, rainstorms, and hailstorms, which can cause significant damage to roofs, windows, and even your solar panels.
In addition to the threat of hail, the Colorado Front Range area is susceptible to tornadoes, snow, and even wildfires. So, can hail damage solar panels? And what does that mean for homeowners looking to install a solar panel system? Don’t worry, we’ve got the right answers for you.
How to Prevent Damage to Solar Panels During a Hail Storm
Hail forecasting has been around for decades, and it’s no secret that the risk of hailstorms varies greatly depending on conditions. However, the technology used to predict hail is still quite primitive, and developers are largely reliant on data collected from weather stations. This method is limited because it does not take into account the unique characteristics of each specific area.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s SunShot Initiative have been working together to make solar power more accessible and affordable.
Led by the SunShot Initiative, solar panels have undergone numerous tests to improve durability and resilience over the years. One such test involved shooting ping pong-sized ice balls at solar panels. These tests are designed to simulate extreme weather events, like hailstorms.
In 2017, a particularly severe hailstorm hit Denver, Colorado, causing serious damage across the city. Out of the 3,000+ solar panels on the NREL campus in Golden, only one panel was damaged. Considering how much research goes into making sure solar panels stand up to extreme weather events, it’s no wonder that the majority of solar panels in Colorado survived the 2017 storm with minimal damage.
Hail is a Common Threat to Solar Panels in Colorado
If you live in Colorado and have solar panels, it’s important to review your homeowner’s insurance policy and make sure it covers your solar panels too. While some people don’t think about it, our area gets hit with hailstorms every now and again.
Most instances of storm-related damage are covered under your homeowner’s policy. However, homeowners need to add new solar systems to their policy once they’re installed. If not, the storm-related damage may not be covered. There could come a day when your solar panels are damaged by hail and need repairs. Do you know if your homeowner’s insurance will cover your repairs?
Take some time now to review your insurance coverage and make adjustments as needed.
Can Hail Damage Solar Panels?
Unfortunately, yes. Even though solar panels have a thick layer of tempered glass for protection, they can only take so many hard impacts from things like hail. Tempered glass is known to withstand moderate hailstorms. Even the smallest external crack can damage the module’s internal solar cells and other components.
However, these products have been thoroughly designed to withstand heavy impacts. Some of your panels may incur damage during a hailstorm, but it is very unlikely that your entire system will become damaged. You’ll likely be able to address the panel damage with a few repairs.
Most Hailstorms are Not Severe Enough to Damage Your Solar Panels
The good news is solar panels were designed for outdoor use and to withstand the elements. It’s a good idea to always check on your solar system after a severe hailstorm or any type of weather event, which you can do from the palm of your hand with your monitoring system. If you’re ready to make the switch to solar, we can help at EcoMark Solar.
Contact EcoMark today to learn more about the solar panels we carry and how we can help if a hailstorm strikes.