If you’re a homeowner who wants to get solar panels, but you live in a region of the United States that’s prone to large, damaging hail, the search for good solar energy might have become very frustrating for you. Many solar energy companies claim their panels will withstand the impact of hailstones, but they typically mean small or moderate hail. That doesn’t help you if you live somewhere like Texas, where hail can be much, much larger. If your region is a hail magnet, take these steps to help keep the solar array on your home safe.
Solar panels that are raised up off the roof can be cracked and dented by very large hail. So, look for solar options, such as peel-and-stick solar tiles or thin-film solar panels. These offer flatter and tougher materials that aren’t quite as prone to damage from hail.
You can never guarantee that a solar array won’t be damaged at all by hail over its lifespan. But you can get more resistant materials; the thin-film panels are made with plastics that don’t break that easily and that protect the circuitry inside. The peel-and-stick tiles rest right against your roof, so you don’t have the gap underneath the panels that could make them more prone to breaking on impact. Of course, the peel-and-stick tiles aren’t perfect, but if you put them on break-resistant materials like metal, you really reduce the chances of something going wrong.
Hail will be more likely to damage something it hits head-on. Because hail tends not to fall at a sharp angle — you might have a slight angle, especially in smaller hail, but not a huge one — angled panels may fare better in a storm. Any damage that does occur will likely be less severe than it would be had the hailstones hit the panels head on.
Check Your Homeowner’s Insurance
Not all homeowner’s insurance is going to pay for something as specialized as solar panels damaged by hail. Double-check what your policy covers. If it does cover hail and solar panels, increase the coverage. If it does not cover them, talk to the panel manufacturer about warranties and situations in which you can get repairs covered. Many manufacturers will offer extended warranties; check those for hail coverage.
Many people in all regions of the United States have solar panels, so don’t let the idea of a strong hailstorm stop you. Remember that those large storms don’t occur every week. You’re more likely to encounter small, annoying hail instead.