What if your solar panels are closed up, and you have a tornado or hail storm coming through? What’s going to happen then? Well, first of all, it’s doubtful that the storm will go directly over your property. If it does, though, rest assured that most modern solar panel systems are designed specifically with such contingencies in mind. Even if you get some rain on them or even hail (which can smash the glass), they’re still likely to function for years afterward without any major problems. That’s because most manufacturers put “anti-shade” or “anti-ice” coatings on their cells which make sure they’ll continue working even if they get a little hail damage.
Extreme hot and cold temperatures
Unusual temperatures can also cause a problem for solar panels. Though there’s no reason to worry about getting hot enough that your panels will melt, going too cold on occasion will decrease their efficiency. If you have extreme heat or cold in your area, some of the panels might be affected even if they’re still working correctly. This is usually the result of panels getting dirty or contaminated with particles, so it’s essential to keep up with your cleaning.
If you’re not sure that your solar panel system will be able to handle extreme weather, check out a couple of free online calculators. These will help show how much power you can expect them to produce under various conditions.
The weather affects solar panels, but it’s nothing to worry about. Solar panels are designed for operation in various weather extremes and will continue to work for years without significant reduction in performance. Most new units have special coatings or other features that help them work even when they’re damaged by hail or other kinds of weather.
Hailstorms can affect solar panels, but only if severe. If the hail is so large that it will fall on your roof, then you may want to consider more substantial protection than just a solar panel. However, if the hailstorm bounces off of the roof and falls into areas other than where your solar panels are located, then there’s no reason for concern. So, in short, no, hail won’t damage your panels.
Hailstorms can affect solar panel systems significantly but only if severe and of enormous size (larger than eggs). If you think there is a risk, you can invest in the panels by reinforcing them or covering them entirely with a waterproof material such as glass or plexiglass. This may cost a little more but is well worth the investment when your panels are damaged and must be replaced.
If you want to avoid all risk of damage, install aluminum-reinforced glass or plexiglass on top of your solar panels so that no hail will get through and into the electrical system beneath it. This costs about $75 to $100 for large panels and may be worth the money if you live in an area of high risk.
However, if your panels are damaged by hail, they can be repaired. Household solar panels cost between $5 and $50 to fix, depending on the extent of the damage. Do not attempt to repair a panel if you don’t know how – it is easy to cause more damage that way!
Heavy rain, snow, and ice
Heavy rains and snow can affect solar panels in the same way that water affects electrical wiring during a rainstorm. Snow, however, will not melt on your solar panels and does not have to be removed except in big storms (large amounts of snow) or if you want to take advantage of the extra sunlight reflected by it.
Rains will not affect solar panels but will cause moisture damage to any electrical system beneath the panel. Moisture can also seep under these panels if there is no protective layer, spreading into your roof and causing extensive damage beyond just the loss of solar power.
If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, then it is advised that you install solar panels with a protective barrier. This could be anything, from glass to plexiglass. Snow acts much like rain and can cause moisture damage beneath the panels but is easily removed once it melts away.
Solar panels can be affected by heavy rains, but only if the rain is continuous for a long time. Since you are likely to have power interruptions if it rains continuously, this does not affect your solar system at all. If there is flooding or bad storms where you live, then, however, you should consider getting some protection – whether that’s reinforcing the panels themselves or covering them with plexiglass.
Tornadoes and Hurricanes
Tornadoes and hurricanes can damage solar panels a lot just like they do to everything else. Depending on the strength of the tornado or hurricane you may want to consider moving your panels to a better location (further away from the damaging wind) or completely rebooting your system and getting new panels altogether after tornadoes or hurricanes hit.
Solar panels are made of glass which can be easily shattered by the wind strong enough to cause a tornado or hurricane. They can even be hurled into nearby trees, houses, cars – anything really!
If you have solar panels that are directly in the path of a tornado just move them (or your entire system) as far away from it as possible. Another option, if you need to save money and don’t want to replace the panels just yet, is to cover them with a waterproof material such as glass or plexiglass.
If your solar panels are in no immediate danger but near the edge of a hurricane (the area where the wind has begun its destruction) then consider moving them further away from the hurricane to avoid damage. The most severe damage is usually done during the first hour or two of a hurricane which means that if you move your panels within this time range you stand a good chance of avoiding damage completely.
If it’s too late and there is already a tornado or hurricane in your area then just wait and see – some solar panels are still able to produce energy after this type of storm. If the panels have been completely destroyed then it is time to get new ones and reboot your system.
A tornado or hurricane can destroy solar panels – especially if they fly around and hit other things like trees, cars, roofs, etc. Follow these tips so that you can avoid having your solar panels – and system – destroyed by a tornado or hurricane.
#1: move your panels further away from an area in which tornados or hurricanes are likely to strike
#2: consider putting glass or plexiglass over your panels if they are not protected already so that you will avoid the worst damage from shattered glass raining down on your solar panels
#3: if it is too late and a tornado or hurricane has already hit your area then wait and see how much damage the wind and rain have caused; you may be able to continue producing some electricity from damaged solar panels
#4: if your panels are irreparably damaged by a tornado or hurricane then consider rebooting your system and getting new solar panels instead of repairing them
#5: if you are in an area that is prone to tornados or hurricanes consider moving your solar panels each month so they don’t get damaged
After a tornado or hurricane (or any bad weather for that matter) it’s best to move your solar panels away from the area in which the damage occurred and in a direction opposite to the path that the bad weather took. For example, if your solar panels were hit by a tornado head north away from where it came from!
Lightning strikes are a widespread occurrence during any thunderstorm, and often the strike will make contact with objects on or around your home. Most lightning strikes will not affect your solar system. But the unfortunate truth is that some of them can. Being aware of how lightning affects your solar modules, inverters and batteries could potentially save you much money in repair costs or, worse, having to replace damaged equipment. Although you might think that lightning is not likely to affect your solar system (especially if it’s installed high up on the roof), some circumstances will increase the chance of a strike affecting your system.
The factor that increases the chance of lightning affecting your solar system:
The modules are installed on a pitched roof or at an angle. Although it is essential for efficient performance that they face south, it is not recommended to install them vertically because this increases their chance of being struck by lightning (especially in an area with extreme weather conditions). It is recommended to install them at an angle of 30 degrees or less. No lightning protection is used. Aluminum frames and lugs are not typically conducive enough to protect your system from lightning strikes (although the frame can provide indirect protection for the modules).
If there is a lightning storm, your system can be affected by the following: A strike directly to an array can cause damage or complete failure. Even if this happens, it is often difficult to determine precisely which module was hit because the outer casing of most solar panels looks the same (although some manufacturers have started producing modules with different colors for this reason). Lightning passing through a junction box or cable can short circuit your system and cause it to stop working. If this happens it is usually easy to identify the affected wiring because they are usually damaged somehow. A strike without direct contact with your equipment (but within 15 feet) can blast out fuses installed on your home’s main electrical panel.