Solar panels can endure small to medium-sized hailstones, but hail with a diameter greater than 1 ¾” or 44 mm can potentially damage them.
According to a National Renewable Energy Laboratory study, the chances of hail damaging solar panels are less than five percent.
However, factors such as the speed and angle of the hail, the quality and thickness of the solar panel glass, and the mounting and tilt of the solar panels can increase the risk of hail damage.
If you reside in an area that is prone to hail storms, such as Texas, Colorado, or Nebraska, taking measures to protect your solar panels from hail damage is advisable.
In this article, we’ll look at how hail can damage solar panels and how to repair and replace them if necessary. We’ll also discuss insurance coverage, protective measures, tax credits, and financing options.
So, if you want to learn more about how hail affects your solar energy system, read on.
Impact on Energy Production
Hail damage can significantly impact solar panels’ energy production, as it can reduce their efficiency and lifespan.
The degree of damage to solar panels depends on various factors, such as the size and duration of the hail, the type and position of the panels, and the presence of hail protectors.
Cracks and scratches caused by hail can reduce the amount of sunlight absorbed by the solar panels, lowering their power output and increasing reliance on grid electricity.
Hail damage can also shorten the life of a solar panel by exposing it to moisture, corrosion, and further degradation. This can lead to more frequent repairs or replacements, increasing costs and reducing return on investment.
Investing in a solar battery can also be a good idea as it can store excess solar energy and provide backup power if solar panels are damaged or offline due to a hail storm.
Taking necessary precautions and investing in high-quality solar panels can help minimize the impact of hail damage on energy production from solar panels and maximize the benefits of your renewable energy source.
Please note that most property insurance policies cover solar panels on your house for damage caused by hail.
This is because solar panels are considered a part of your home and are protected against various risks like wind, fire, vandalism, and falling tree branches.
However, the level of protection provided may differ based on your policy limits, deductible, and the cause of damage.
Before installing your solar panels, it’s crucial to inform your insurance company to ensure that your policy provides sufficient coverage.
Be sure to check for any exclusions or limitations regarding solar panel coverage, as some policies may require higher premiums or deductibles or may not cover wind or hail damage.
Additionally, you may need to raise your coverage limits to account for the replacement cost of your solar panels, which can be quite substantial.
In case your solar panels are affected by hail damage, here are the steps you should take to file a claim:
- Take photos of the damage and document the date and time of the hail storm.
- Contact your solar panel installer or manufacturer to inspect the damage and provide an estimate for repair or replacement.
- Contact your insurance company and report the claim as soon as possible.
- Provide the necessary documentation and evidence to support your claim, such as photos, receipts, invoices, warranty information, etc.
- Cooperate with the insurance adjuster and follow their instructions.
- Review the settlement offer and negotiate if needed.
- Receive the payment and repair or replace your solar panels.
By following these steps and cooperating with the insurance adjuster, you can ensure that your insurance policy adequately covers your solar panels and that any damage caused by hail is promptly addressed.
Taking proactive steps to safeguard your system is essential, so consider investing in protective measures like hail guards or metal cladding to help keep your renewable energy source safe.
Installing hail guards on your roof or metal cladding around your panel installation can provide extra protection, reducing the risk of hail damage to your solar panels.
Hail guards are designed to deflect hail stones, while metal cladding absorbs much of the impact of the hailstone, so your solar panels don’t have to.
Although these measures won’t guarantee that hailstones won’t damage your solar panels, they can help reduce the chances of experiencing repairs due to hail damage.
Regularly inspecting your solar panels for damage can help you to detect and repair hail damage before it becomes a more costly problem.
After a storm hits, don’t be left in the dark — inspect your system for potential destruction.
Even if the hailstone size and weight weren’t too severe, you should still check for any damage.
Start your inspection outside by looking for visible signs of damage, such as cracks, chips, or discoloration.
Checking for any signs of water damage or leaks is a good idea if your roof has been damaged.
Then, look inside at the electrical wiring, connections, and battery storage system.
Ensure that you firmly attach all the parts and do not cause harm to the internal components. If you notice any damaged panels, seek professional help to repair them.
Repair and Replacement Costs
The cost of repairing hail damage to solar panels can vary greatly depending on the extent of the damage.
If the damage is minor, such as small dents or scratches, it may only require cleaning.
However, an extensive repair process may be necessary if the damage is more serious, such as broken glass or severe structural damage.
Solar panel manufacturers or installers may also offer warranties or guarantees that cover hail damage to their products or services.
Before installing a solar panel, homeowners should check the terms and conditions of their warranty or guarantee and find out if it covers hail damage, how long it’s covered, and under what circumstances.
One way to prevent hail damage to solar panels is to ensure proper installation. Proper installation of solar panels is crucial for complete protection against hail damage.
Consult with an installer about specific installation tips and techniques to safeguard your investment in solar energy.
By taking proactive measures like these, you can minimize the risk of hail damage and ensure that your solar panels continue to provide clean energy for years.
Tax Credits and Financing Options
Tax credits and financing options are available for homeowners who experience hail damage to their solar panels.
One of the most significant tax credits is the federal residential solar energy credit, which enables homeowners to claim a percentage of the cost of a solar PV system on their federal income taxes.
The credit percentage varies depending on when the system was installed, with 26% for systems installed in 2020-2022, 30% for systems installed in 2022-2032, and 22% for systems installed in 2033.
If your solar panels have been damaged by hail, you may be eligible for a credit to help cover the repair or replacement cost. Just make sure your system meets the eligibility criteria.
Apart from federal tax credits, some states and local governments may offer tax credits, rebates, grants, or loans for solar PV systems, which may also cover hail damage expenses.
Homeowners can search for local incentives through the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) website.
You can take steps to protect your solar panels from hail damage, but if it happens, you should act quickly.
Inspect your panels for damage and contact your insurance provider to see if you’re covered.
If not, you can look into repair and replacement costs and financing or tax credit options.
By taking these steps, you can minimize the impact of hail damage on your solar panels and protect your investment.