In Belgium, we're no strangers to unpredictable weather, and hailstorms are no exception. When small ice pellets turn into fist-sized hailstones falling at speeds over 100 km/h, they can cause significant damage to property – including solar panels. While solar panels are generally designed to withstand harsh weather, exceptions do occur. In this article, we'll discuss the importance of international standards for solar panel resistance, the types of panels best suited to withstand hail, and what to do if your solar installation suffers damage.
Solar panels face the sky, which means they are directly exposed to the elements. However, not all solar panels are created equal, and it's crucial to ensure they meet international standards for hail resistance. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) establishes these standards:
Even if solar panels meet the IEC standards, some systems are more resistant to hail than others. Many solar panels on the market are made from borosilicate glass, which is designed to absorb shocks from high and low temperatures. Borosilicate glass is also used in Pyrex cookware, showcasing its durability.
To further protect against hail damage, borosilicate glass should be tempered. This process enhances the glass's strength when properly treated, ensuring the solar installation's efficiency and peak power remain unaffected.
Even with IEC-compliant solar panels, hailstorms can still impact your solar energy production. The dark skies that often accompany hailstorms can temporarily reduce sunlight exposure, affecting your panels' performance. Additionally, even minor impacts on your photovoltaic cells could potentially decrease your solar installation's efficiency. Trusting in IEC-compliant equipment is essential to minimize these risks.
If your solar panels suffer damage from a severe hailstorm, it's crucial to have professionals assess the situation. They can provide diagnostics, interventions, and maintenance for your solar installation, whether installed by a specific company or not.
While hailstorms can be intimidating, proper preparation and adherence to international standards minimize the likelihood of lasting damage to your solar panels. Before starting any solar project, verify that the proposed modules meet IEC safety standards. As we continue to face climate change, let's hope that devastating hailstorms don't become the new norm. By taking appropriate measures and using high-quality solar panels, you can ensure your investment remains safe and productive for years to come.