Can Solar Panels Withstand Hail Storms & Hurricanes?

Can Solar Panels Withstand The Elements? Let's Find Out.

Disclosure: Some posts contain affiliate links, which earn us a commission if you make a purchase through them.

Solar panels are extremely popular along coastlines. This is because these areas commonly receive a lot of sunlight. This makes solar panels perform more efficiently.

There are, however, many common questions that arise around the concerns the durability of solar panels.

  • How strong is solar panel glass?
  • Can solar panels withstand hail?
  • Can solar panels withstand strong winds?
  • Can solar panels withstand hurricanes?

These are all great questions and important to know before you leap implementing a solar panel system into your home or commercial building.

How Strong Are Solar Panels?

Overall, solar panels are incredibly strong. That doesn’t mean they’re unbreakable, but you can expect them to hold up even in severe weather.

A study concerning solar panel hail tests was done by Arizona State University.

They found that solar panel glass can withstand, on average, the impact of hail up to two inches wide.

It’s also been found that even when the glass has cracked, many times a solar panel system will continue to work fine. The solar panel system will only start to fail if the panel itself has been penetrated.

Hurricanes, Hail, and Strong Winds

Knowing if your solar panel system can withstand hurricanes, hail, and strong winds will be an important concern if you reside on the coastlines of the U.S.

The strength of your solar panel will depend on how it was designed.

If you’re not overly concerned, you can purchase solar panels that are rated to withstand 150 miles per hour.

For those who want to be extra careful, you can even purchase solar panels that are rated up to 245 miles per hour. This will be more than enough strength to protect your solar panels from even the strongest of winds.

Hail can pose a potential problem to solar panels.

The study referenced above states that the average solar panel’s glass will be able to withstand hail up to two inches wide.

While is this incredibly durable, it may not be enough in some severe instances.

It’s also important to note that while the solar panel glass may crack, that doesn’t mean it won’t continue to function. Hail must penetrate the solar panel itself to affect its operation.

If you’re willing to spend the extra money to purchase solar panels that are rated for hurricane conditions, you can typically bet that your solar panels will make it through most hurricanes without issue.

However, you can’t ever count mother nature out.

Direct hits from hurricanes or tornadoes produced by hurricanes can severely damage almost anything. If the weather is severe enough, there’s only so much you can do to protect it from flying debris and hail.

When installing your solar panels, ensure that they’re away from any trees or other debris.

This is true for ground-mounted solar panels and rooftop solar panel systems. Not only are these potential weapons to be used against your solar panel, but they may also shade your solar cells and reduce the efficiency of your solar panels.

Can Solar Panels Get Struck by Lightning?

Yes, solar panels can get struck by lightning. The inherent nature of solar panels requires them to be separated from other objects and point toward the sky. This natural tendency to be separated and elevated will make them prime targets for lightning strikes.

Unfortunately, in the event of a lightning strike, your solar panel is likely to receive some sort of damage. This is especially true for solar power systems that are prone to using complex mechanisms to work.

To prevent as much damage as possible to your solar panels in the event of a lightning strike, ensure that it’s properly grounded and consider a lightning protection system. Click here for a list of viable and affordable options on Amazon.

Keeping your solar panel as grounded as possible will mean making sure that all parts are touching correctly and a pathway to the ground is made as short as possible. This will help get the energy created by the lightning strikeout of the solar panel system quicker and cause less overall damage.

Lightning protection systems are created by companies to ensure the safety of buildings and occupants. These systems will help direct lightning away from critical systems and off into the ground where it can safely dissipate.

However, even with both of these strategies being implemented, it’s almost impossible to prevent some sort of damage to your solar panels in the event of a lightning strike.

Testing Your Solar Panel

It’s always a good idea to constantly test your solar panels to ensure they’re in good condition for any situation. While there aren’t certain levels of wind resistance required of solar panels, they do outline a standard procedure that you can use to test your solar panels for resistance rating.

You can find the test guidelines at the American Society of Civil Engineer’s website.

How to Protect Solar Panels From Hail Storms

Protecting your solar panels from hail storms is something that needs to be done upon installation as well as throughout your time using it.

Before you install your solar panel, ensure that there are no pieces of debris or objects surrounding it that can fall on it.

This will not only reduce the chances of additional debris hitting your solar power system, but it’ll also reduce the amount of shading your solar cells receive and thus increase the efficiency of your solar panel system.

Throughout your time owning solar panels, you should constantly be testing the glass and the overall durability of the solar panel. Do this by conducting wind resistance tests and looking for any signs of damage.

Just because there hasn’t been a storm recently doesn’t mean that your solar panels won’t be damaged and weakened by something else.

More Stories
Ground Mounted Solar Panels (Are They Worth It?)