Can My Solar Panels Survive a Texas Hail Storm?
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The solar industry has been booming, but Texas gets some pretty monstrous hail storms. The people of San Antonio need to know if solar is an investment that is worth the risk.
Solar Panel Hail Impact Tests
Solar manufacturers are aware that panels around the world experience different weather extremes. And yet they still guarantee long-lasting warranties for their panels.
What makes them so sure that their product will withstand the test of time? The answer is testing. To make sure panels meet international standards for photovoltaics, they go through testing.
All Panels Have To Meet the IEC Standards
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) sets international standards for all electrical and electronic equipment. For IEC’s hail impact test, ice balls of various weights, sizes, and diameters at about –4°C get thrown at panels. Each test uses 11 specific impact locations.
Panels are not allowed on the market if they can’t withstand at least 1 inch, 7.3-gram hailstones at 23 meters per second. Panels pass the IEC standard for hail if the panels have the following criteria.
- Has no visual defects after testing
- Passed insulation testing after simulated hail
- For crystalline silicone, a change of less than 5 percent in max power determination
Results of the Round Robin Test
Swiss and Austrian laboratories did their own “Round Robin” testing. Their testing was to determine if the standardized testing was accurate. As a result, they found that every panel with tempered glass on the front withstands hail better.
Solar Panels in Texas Hail
Solar pays for itself with the money that customers save in electric bills. This is great, but it means nothing if most of those savings get spent replacing broken panels every year.
History of Hail Storms in San Antonio
Since 2004 the northwestern San Antonio area has experienced 75 hailstorms. Thirty of these storms were in 2016 alone.
Most hurled between 1 to 2 inch stones, but there were a couple that had between 3 and 4 inch hailstones. Whether solar can withstand these storms is a very real concern for Texans.
Solar Panel Hail Protection in San Antonio, Texas
Although these testing procedures ensure that solar panels can withstand the minimum, not all hailstorms are within these specs. As a result, some have tried to find ways to protect their panels against larger hailstorms.
Nets for Solar Panels
Some have decided to put nets up above their panels. This may stop some larger hailstones, but it will also block sunlight from hitting the panels — and it is a little bit of an eyesore.
San Antonio Solar Panels Hail Damage Insurance
Although solar panels do have manufacturer and installer warranties, these don’t cover everything. Many have found that the best way to protect their solar investment is with home insurance.
Home Insurance Coverage for Panels
If you own your solar panels, you can have them covered by your homeowner insurance. You will have to talk to your insurance agent to make sure that your panels fall under your current policy.
You may have to get a separate rider policy if your panels aren’t considered part of the dwelling. You can also only get your panels covered under your home insurance if you own the panels. Many have found this is the cheapest and best way to make sure their investment is safe.
Getting the Best Coverage for Your Panels
Before you get panels, make sure you have contacted your home insurance agent. Most don’t need a policy or premium change when solar gets added, but there are exceptions. Make sure that your policy will cover the cost of replacing your system if you needed to. Having your panels insured does you no good if you aren’t covered when something gets broken. After you have made sure that solar panels will get covered, it is time to look into your solar options. Make sure to compare quotes so you can get the best deal. You can learn more about solar for your home by filling out our Texas residential solar form. We will then contact you to set up a free quote and answer your questions.