If you are considering purchasing solar panels in the New Braunfels area, one thing you may wonder is how tolerant they are to hail. After all, Texas experiences more hail damage than any other state. When thinking about solar panel hail damage, there are several things to consider. Let’s address those in this blog.
Why Is Solar Panel Hail Damage a Concern?
There are several reasons why solar panel hail damage can be concerning for homeowners. All of these relate to getting the most value out of your investment. Hail has the potential to cause two major problems with solar panels.
Solar Panel Hail Damage
The first potential risk when it comes to hailstorms and your solar panels is direct damage to the exterior. Solar panels are typically constructed with the top layer being a sheet of glass. Fortunately, this isn’t a typical sheet of glass. In reality, solar panels generally have very strong tempered glass on the exterior.
The good news is that tempered glass is very durable and has been effectively used in outdoor environments for a long time. In fact, many homeowners have reported that their solar panels have gone through severe storms without accruing any hail damage. However, there is a potential for the glass to be cracked, causing damage or exposing the underlying components to moisture.
Reduced Solar Panel Performance
Even if a panel does not have direct cracks to the exterior glass, there are situations where hail damage can result in reduced solar performance as an impact can negatively affect some of the internal components. However, if there are cracks on the surface of the glass, reduced performance is almost certain to occur if not repaired fairly soon.
The amount of reduced performance ultimately relates to the extent of the damage to the solar panels. If 20% of a solar panel’s cells are damaged, this will reduce its maximum performance by roughly 20%. Cracked panels can also cause hot spots that further cause reductions in capacity.
Do Warranties Cover Solar Panel Hail Damage?
As you likely know, solar panels typically come with warranties that provide protection for your investment. These warranties often range from 20 to 30 years. Do these warranties cover solar panel hail damage?
The basic answer is that it depends. Each company’s warranty is different, and you should thoroughly read the warranty to understand exactly what it covers and what it does not cover. However, a more general answer is that warranties are increasingly being written in a way that allows for an exclusion for hail damage.
If your warranty does not cover solar panel hail damage, you should next turn to your homeowner’s insurance. Your insurance may cover damage, or you could potentially purchase an add-on, or rider, that adds solar panel coverage for hail. If neither the warranty nor insurance covers hail damage, you could be left footing the bill yourself. Thus, you want to invest in solar panels that are tested for strength and durability against hail.
How Do I Know If a Solar Panel Can Withstand Hail?
When it comes to solar panel hail damage, there are a number of consumer organizations that engage in testing to determine the strength and resistance of solar panels, particularly when it comes to impacts from hail.
Solar panels that achieve this certification can be trusted to withstand hail of certain sizes and amounts. These types of solar panels can provide a greater peace of mind to the homeowner. They are also often easier to insure than other models because the insurance company will view them as more reliable.
While there are several types of certifications, one of the preferred industry standards is TUV certified solar panels.
What Does TUV Certified Mean for Solar Panels?
The term “TUV” comes from a German word, Technischer Uberwachungsverein. This essentially translates to mean “Technical Inspection Association.” This concept was initially created during the Industrial Revolution as independent associations began to conduct testing of different products and technologies.
Over time, the term TUV certified has come to be associated with quality and reliability. This is because becoming TUV certified requires products to go through extensive amounts of testing in order to ensure that they function according to standards.
When it comes to solar panel hail damage, TUV Rheinland provides an incredibly extensive hail test. This test involves using a mechanism to fire a 35 millimeter wide hailstone into a solar panel at a speed of 27.2 meters per second. This is equivalent to a speed of over 60 miles per hour. This standard is in excess to the traditional test of a 25 millimeter projectile at 23 meters per second.
Passing this test means that solar panels do not crack and do not have a performance reduction of more than five percent. This means that panels that pass this certification process and become TUV certified can be trusted to be extremely resistant to solar panel hail damage.
If you are concerned about the possibility of solar panel hail damage here in Texas, look for panels that have been TUV certified. These panels provide the most extensive protection against damage from hail, having undergone a rigorous process. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions you have about your solar panel needs.