Solar panels have been engineered and tested to be extremely tough, in most cases, they are stronger than the roof they are installed on. But they are not invincible as some unlucky Australians have learned in recent weeks as hail storms ripped through the east coast of the country.
Melbourne and Canberra were lashed with golf-ball sized hunks of hail in two different storms that struck within 24 hours of each other, while Queensland has experienced wide-spread hail storms that have damaged cars, homes and even pierced through rooves to cause devastation.
Those storms have also resulted in damage to panels, including immense destruction in some instances which means home and business owners will need to replace them.
That can be an expensive exercise so it is important to put the right measures in place to try and protect your solar panels in the first instance to stop them from being damaged by hail and other storm elements including falling branches and other debris.
Solar panels are made from tough tempered glass to resist hail and they have to be tested under Australian standards to withstand a direct strike from hailstones with a diameter of 35mm â€“ about half the size of a golf ball. But when you get larger hailstones they can smash your panels which is something to be mindful of.
Yes. You should never attempt to touch these panels after a storm or try and remove any debris because these PV systems can still generate voltage even if the network supply has been disconnected. Your inverter will let you know there is a problem with the panels and you will need to call in a licensed professional to inspect and repair the panels and remove any debris.
It goes without saying that you want to install panels that adhere to Australian standards to ensure you are getting the right protection during storms. Most panels are certified and tested to withstand mid-sized hailstones travelling at 80km/h as long as they are purchased from a reputable provider and you are purchasing a known and reliable brand.
You can purchase solar panel protective covers, but bear in mind that they will limit or eliminate the panelsâ€™ ability to harvest power from the sun. That means you need to only put them on if there is a threat of major storms, so you will need the right early invention alerts as well. There is a range of weather apps you can download for your phone that will alert you to severe storms in your area so that you can act and add these covers to your solar panels.
Always ensure you have comprehensive insurance coverage so that you will not have to shoulder the full cost of replacing your panels if a severe storm does strike.