Solar power is a great way to move past fossil fuels. It’s a renewable source of energy which means it never runs out. It’s also very clean an good for the environment. However, there are a few things that should be kept in mind while using solar energy. For example, your solar panels can get damaged by blunt force trauma. The good news is that things don’t usually fall out of the sky. Or at least, nothing falling from the sky is usually heavy enough to cause any kind of damage.
There are some cases where damage can occur, though. For example, hail stones can cause a lot of damage. If you live in an area where there is a lot of hail then you need to take precautions against it. Otherwise a strong hail storm could leave your solar setup unusable. You won’t be able to draw any power from your solar panels. You might even have to get them replaced. This is an added expense that you can avoid if you take the necessary precautions. In this article we will be talking about some of the things you can do to prevent hail damage on your solar panels.
Now, before we get into it we need to acknowledge one thing. This is that the chances of damage occurring is quite low. Most solar panels are made in such a way that they are resistant to hail damage. Manufacturers are aware that this can be a problem and they take steps to ensure that no serious losses are incurred whenever a hail storm occurs. Still, there is a chance no matter how small that something could happen. Manufacturers have things covered on their end but you should take a few precautions of your own as well.
#1 Protect Fragile Areas With Methacrylate
While your solar panel as a whole will be secure, there might be some areas that are sensitive. They might have gotten a large hailstone which caused some small amount of damage. The problem here is that the damage can keep getting worse if you don’t take action. A little damage won’t have a lasting impact but any more hail storms could make the damage greater. This would lead to your solar panel no longer working.
What you can do here is apply some methacrylate to the fragile area. A thin layer would do the trick. If you make the layer too thick it might prevent the solar cells from receiving sunlight. This can reduce the efficiency of your solar panel. Hence, you should be careful about how thick the layer is. Other precautions also need to be taken to prevent power supply from being interrupted. The access line can often be compromised when applying methacrylate. Be sure to keep this in mind before something even more serious occurs.
Just make sure that you get high quality methacrylate. If you can’t find this material you can make do with plexiglass too. Use two layers of this material but leave some space in between them to create a buffer. This will make it pretty much impossible for hail to damage your solar panel. What’s great about this solution is that it doesn’t reduce energy production.
#2 Optimizing Solar Panel Angle
Giving your solar panels some armor is a great idea, but it’s not the only one. Sometimes the solution to a problem is quite simple, you just need to be able to think of some out of the box ideas. One such idea is that you can adjust the angle of your solar panels. The right kind of angle will prevent a lot of damage. Instead of just falling flat onto the solar panel, the hail will hit at an angle which will absorb some of the force. The hail will then slide off the panel much more easily.
This is a great solution for this problem. For starters, it won’t cost you any money. You can have added hail protection without increasing the size of your initial investment. Secondly it does not take a lot of time. If you have the right tools you can get the job done in just a few short minutes per panel. This is a good example of a precaution that seems like common sense but is actually quite rare.
An additional step you can take here is to add a railing that would stop hail from hitting the topmost edge of your panel. If hail falls it will only hit the lower part of the panel which would be less exposed. The combination of these two techniques is enough to make it very unlikely your solar panels would get damaged. You can also use trial and error to calculate the correct angle for your solar panels.
#3 Do Personal Research
One thing is certain in the world of solar power, and that is that every situation is different. A solution that would work for one person might not be suitable for another. This is why it is important for you to do some research to understand what your situation requires. Part of this research would involve analyzing how many solar panels you have.
You also need to look into what kinds of solar panels you have. Different manufacturers have different standards when it comes to durability. The manufacturer you chose to purchase from can have quite an impact on the steps you would need to take. If you went for a top quality manufacturer then you might not have to do much. Buying from lower quality manufacturers means that you will have to do more to prevent something bad from happening in the future.
Analyzing the area you are about to add solar panels to is something that you should do regardless. It can help you plan ahead and figure out what needs to be done. While solar power requires a significant investment, the money required can be reduced if you act sensibly before spending your money. Once the panels have been set up you can then move forward with your plans to add more durability to them if they need it, or you can just use common sense damage prevention techniques such as the one mentioned above.
#4 Pay Attention to Weather Patterns
Some people think that solar power doesn’t require any work. They are right to an extent. Solar panels don’t need you to do anything, they will generate power regardless. However, you do need to be proactive. Maintaining a solar power setup is all about paying attention to your surroundings. If you want to avoid any hail damage from occurring then you might want to tune into the weather reports that are given for your area. This can help give you an advantage by allowing you to act before disaster strikes.
If you live in an area where reports aren’t given, there’s probably an office nearby that you can go to in person. If you have invested in solar power they would be more than happy to serve you, especially since they would want to protect your solar panels by contributing in any way they can.
Any time you hear about a hail storm coming you can immediately cover your solar panels up. Some of the protection you’d give can’t be there all the time. While such temporary protection can be useful at preventing hail damage, it can greatly reduce energy efficiency. You can put this protection in place whenever a hail storm is on its way and remove it when the storm has passed. That way you’d have protection when you need it and energy production when added safety equipment is not required so it works both ways.
#5 Don’t Replace, Repair
A common practice among solar panel owners is to jump the gun when it comes to replacing panels. A damaged panel doesn’t work properly. People want to get their system back up and running. So they buy new panels thinking that it’s the only option. Or they sometimes feel like repairs are not worth the expense. This is based on the misconception that panel repairs are extremely expensive. While they can definitely be a bit pricey, repairs tend to be a lot more affordable than getting a brand new solar panel.
If you get repairs done you will save a lot of money. Repairs are also easier than getting a new solar panel. You would have to get the panel set up after you buy. This would take a lot of time since it is a delicate task that needs to be done carefully. Setting a solar panel up is also an additional expense that you would need to bear. Repairs are quick and cheap, and they are fairly easy to get done as well since there are lots of people that specialize in this area. This can help you recover from any damage that a hail storm might cause.
#6 Buy a Robot For The Job
In order to make sure that your solar panels are able to function for an extended period of time you should make sure you clean them a lot. The only problem is that this uses a lot of water. Solar panels are usually set up in sunny regions. This areas are often water scarce. When there isn’t a lot of water you can’t very well start using buckets to clean your solar panels. Still, this is an essential part of keeping them working at maximum capacity. A solution needs to be found for this, and the good news is that the solution already exists.
This solution that we are talking about has to do with cleaning robots. Such things are no longer left to science fiction. The real world has plenty of these kinds of innovations. A cleaning robot can keep your solar panel working quite efficiently. The best thing is that this robot would use 10% of the water you would normally use. It can clean an entire solar panel using just half a glass of water. Hence, you would be saving water and also saving time because the robot would get the job done without you having to lift a finger.
#7 Get Regular Maintenance Done
Getting maintenance done is a key part of preventing damage from hail stones. It is also important if you want to recover from damage that has already happened. Most solar panels have protection in place for hail stones. However, they still need a little bit of maintenance. This protection can often wear away. If a lot of hail stones fall on the panel, the protection might give out entirely. Regular maintenance will help prevent this from happening. The protective layers will be restored. Hence, the cumulative damage will have been pushed back a bit. This means that the next time hail falls you wouldn’t have to worry about any damage being caused.
Maintenance also helps to keep your energy efficiency up. Wear and tear is normal when it comes to any object that is left outdoors. Solar panels are no different. Even though they are built to withstand wear and tear, over time the damage will accumulate and render your solar panel useless. If you get maintenance done at least once a year you will keep your solar panels working for much longer.
#8 Get a Good Warranty
A good quality solar panel needs to have built in protections from hail. While larger hail stones can’t really be accounted for, regular sized hail stones shouldn’t do any repeated damage. If a small hail storm ends up damaging your solar panels this means that the manufacturer did not do a very good job with them. Hence, before making a purchase you should first look at the warranty. If any damage does occur then it’s the manufacturers fault unless there were some extraordinary circumstances that no one could have predicted.
There is a rather ironic twist here. If you are getting an extended warranty that covers a lot of damages, this means that damage probably won’t occur. Manufacturers only give such warranties when they are confident in the product that they are offering. On the other hand, if you are not getting a good warranty then this is a very bad sign. It means that the manufacturer has cut corners and doesn’t want to have to pay for inevitable repairs. Seeing whether or not there is a good warranty is a good litmus test for judging if a solar panel has been built to a high standard or not.
#9 Be Aware of The State of Your Panels
Another mistake that is often made by people who use solar panels is that they only look into repairs or maintenance once the damage impacts performance. For example, if less energy than normal is created on any given day, they would go and see what the problem is. This is the wrong way to go about things. If the damage gets severe enough that it impacts performance then the cost of repairs would be much higher. You might not even be able to get repairs done, forcing you to replace the solar panel.
If you keep checking up on your panels then this will become less of an issue. You will know if any damage is there on the surface and get it fixed right away before it impacts performance and energy generation. This can save you money as well as time. Not to mention the fact that it will prevent any long term power outages. It is important to keep an eye on solar panels. They are sensitive pieces of equipment and should be treated as such so that the right kind of performance can be derived from them.
#10 Monitor Energy Usage
There is a limit to how much electricity a solar panel can produce. If your usage exceeds this capacity then problems can occur. For example, you might just overload the panel. Over time this will cause a lot of damage. In fact, if you don’t address this issue before it becomes truly serious then it could lead to a lot more problems down the line. Eventually your solar panels would stop working entirely.
This is why you should keep an eye on how much energy is being used. This can seem like a bother for a lot of people. However, most of the time the initial setup is small so that you can test it out. If you see that your electricity consumption is exceeding production you can always get a bigger system. Just add more solar panels and get a bigger battery if you use one. Whatever you do, don’t overload your system otherwise this could have dire consequences for your overall energy supply.
BONUS TIP: Get Insurance
No matter how well prepared you are, sometimes bad things just happen an there is nothing you can really do to stop them. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to recover from the damage. Getting insurance for your solar panels is a great way to ensure you recover. No matter how much damage is caused, you would know that quite a bit of it, if not all of it, would be given to you by the insurance company.
This is a different way of looking at this issue. Many people think that they should only focus on preventing damage from occurring in the first place. Not nearly enough solar power users take steps to deal with the fallout. This also means that there would be a shorter recovery period if damage is incurred. Instead of having to pay for the repairs out of your own pocket, you would get an amount that can help you move things along. Sometimes after damage occurs people can’t use solar power for days. They need to save up money for repairs. This is a precaution that can leave you protected even if your other protections fail to do a good enough job.
Solar power is a great way to get your energy needs met. However, it requires a significant investment. Whenever people make that investment they are bound to be nervous. Something like a hail storm can cause a lot of anxiety when so much money is on the line. These tips prove that there is no need to worry. The chances of a problem occurring at all are very slim. In the very rare chance that they do happen, there are lots of things you can do to mitigate the damage. These are great ways to ensure your investment is secure.