How Durable are Solar Panels in Hurricanes and Hailstorms

April 10, 2023

Solar panels are a long-term investment for homeowners and businesses alike, providing a renewable source of energy that can significantly reduce electricity bills and carbon emissions. While solar panels are designed to withstand various weather conditions, hurricanes and hailstorms pose a significant threat to their durability. In this section, we will discuss the durability of solar panels in extreme weather conditions and what steps can be taken to ensure their longevity. 

Worker dismounting a damaged solar panel

Worker dismounting a damaged solar panel.

Hurricane-force winds can be devastating to rooftops, causing significant damage to solar panels installed on them. The good news is that most solar panels are designed to withstand winds of up to 140 miles per hour, which is equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane. The key to ensuring the longevity of solar panels in hurricane-prone areas is proper installation and regular maintenance. For instance, it is essential to ensure that the panels are securely attached to the roof and that all fasteners are tightened properly. Additionally, homeowners and businesses should consider investing in hurricane-rated solar panels that can withstand winds of up to 180 miles per hour. Does hail damage solar panels? 

Hailstorms are another extreme weather condition that can cause significant damage to solar panels. Most people would know that solar panels and hail are not a good mixture, but insurance makes that you don’t have to worry about issues when they arise. The size and intensity of hailstones can vary greatly, ranging from small pebbles to large golf balls, and can cause dents, cracks, and shattered glass on solar panels. Are solar panels hail-proof? Most solar panels are designed to withstand hailstones of up to one inch in diameter, but larger hailstones can cause irreparable damage. To ensure the longevity of solar panels in hail-prone areas, homeowners and businesses should consider investing in panels with high hailstone impact resistance ratings. Additionally, regular maintenance and inspections can help identify and address any damage to solar panels caused by hailstorms. 

Impact Resistance against Solar Panel Hail Damage

Solar panels are designed to withstand various weather conditions, including hailstorms and high winds. However, the impact resistance of solar panels can vary depending on the quality of the materials used and the specific design of the panel. 

In general, most solar panels are made with tempered glass, which is highly resistant to impacts and can withstand hailstones up to a certain size. Some newer solar panels use advanced materials like polycarbonate or acrylic instead of glass, which can provide even greater impact resistance. Additionally, solar panels are often tested and certified to meet certain industry standards for impact resistance, such as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61215 standard. Can solar panels withstand hail? 

It’s important to note that while solar panels can be highly durable, they are not indestructible. In severe hailstorms or other extreme weather events, solar panels can still sustain damage. It’s important to take steps to protect your solar panels, such as installing them with proper mounting systems and ensuring that they are installed by qualified professionals. Solar panel hail protection is the key to making sure there are no mishaps to the energy schedule. Regular maintenance and inspections can also help to identify and address any issues before they become more serious. 

Impact resistance is an important aspect to consider when it comes to the durability of solar panels. Manufacturers use different materials and techniques to make solar panels more resilient to impact damage, particularly from hail and debris. One approach is to use tempered glass, which is stronger than regular glass and can better withstand impact. Some manufacturers also use anti-reflective coatings to improve the panel’s ability to absorb sunlight and reduce the likelihood of cracking under stress. 

Another way that solar panel manufacturers improve impact resistance is by using thicker glass. The thickness of the glass layer can affect the panel’s ability to absorb impact and resist damage. Additionally, the use of a protective film on the surface of the solar panels can help protect them from impact damage, particularly from hailstorms. 

It’s important to note that while solar panels can be designed to be more impact-resistant, they are not completely immune to damage. Severe weather events such as hurricanes or intense hailstorms can still cause damage to solar panels, and homeowners should take precautions to protect their investments. Regular inspections and maintenance of solar panels can help detect any damage early on and prevent it from worsening over time. Additionally, homeowners should check their insurance policies to ensure that solar panel damage is covered in case of severe weather events. 

Testing and Certification

When it comes to solar panels, ensuring that they are properly tested and certified is crucial in determining their impact resistance. The most widely recognized testing and certification standard for solar panels is the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61215 standard. This standard specifies the requirements for the design and qualification of crystalline silicon terrestrial photovoltaic modules that have a maximum system voltage of 1,000 V. 

To meet the IEC 61215 standard, solar panels must undergo rigorous testing, including hail and impact resistance tests. During these tests, panels are subjected to a range of impacts, from small hailstones to larger ice balls, at different speeds and angles. The panels must withstand these impacts without cracking or breaking, and still maintain their electrical output. 

Furthermore, some solar panels are also certified by other organizations such as the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) 1703 standard in the US, and the TÜV Rheinland in Germany. These certifications are important to consider when selecting solar panels for installation, as they ensure that the panels have undergone proper testing and meet industry standards for durability and impact resistance. 

Case Studies

When it comes to the durability of solar panels, case studies provide valuable insights into how solar panels fare during extreme weather events. For example, in 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and damaged many solar installations on the island. However, one school in San Juan withstood the hurricane’s impact thanks to its specially designed solar panels. 

The panels used on the school’s roof were manufactured by a company that had undergone rigorous testing for impact resistance and could withstand wind speeds of up to 140 miles per hour. The panels remained fully operational even after the hurricane, and the school was able to provide power to the surrounding community in the aftermath of the storm. This case study is just one example of how durable solar panels can be when designed and installed with impact resistance in mind. 

Case studies can provide valuable insights into the durability and resilience of solar panels in extreme weather conditions. For example, after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, solar arrays installed on a Tesla factory remained largely intact, while neighboring buildings suffered significant damage. Similarly, after Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012, a solar panel system installed on a fire station in Long Island survived the storm with minimal damage, providing uninterrupted power to the facility. 

Another case study is the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) research project to test the impact resistance of solar panels. The research involved firing ice balls at solar panels to simulate hailstorms and measuring the resulting damage. The study found that solar panels with thicker and stronger glass, such as those used in the aerospace industry, were more resilient to hail damage. 

These case studies demonstrate the potential of solar panels to withstand extreme weather events and the importance of using durable and resilient solar panel technologies. By choosing reliable and sturdy solar panels, homeowners and businesses can protect their investments and ensure a stable source of renewable energy, even in the face of harsh weather conditions. 

Maintenance and Care

Proper maintenance and care are essential to ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of solar panels. Fortunately, maintenance for solar panels is relatively simple and straightforward. In general, it is recommended to clean the panels once or twice a year, depending on the amount of dust and debris in the area. This can be done with a soft cloth and a solution of water and mild soap, being sure to avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals that could damage the panels. 

It is also important to regularly check the panels for any signs of damage or wear and tear, such as cracks or discoloration. If any issues are identified, it is important to have them addressed promptly by a qualified technician to prevent further damage and ensure the panels are operating at their optimal capacity. Additionally, monitoring the output of the panels can help to identify any potential issues or inefficiencies, allowing for proactive maintenance and repairs. With proper care and attention, solar panels can continue to provide clean, renewable energy for many years to come. 

Solar panels are low-maintenance devices, but they still require some care to ensure that they function at optimal levels. It is important to keep them clean and free of debris, such as leaves and branches, which can accumulate over time and reduce their efficiency. To clean solar panels, simply hose them down with water or use a soft brush to remove any dirt or grime that has built up. If you live in an area with heavy pollution or a lot of dust, you may need to clean them more often. 

Regular inspections are also essential to ensure that your solar panels are functioning correctly. This can involve checking the wiring and connections, as well as examining the panels for any signs of damage or wear and tear. By carrying out routine maintenance and inspections, you can extend the lifespan of your solar panels and ensure that they continue to generate electricity efficiently for many years to come. In addition, some solar panel manufacturers offer warranties that cover maintenance and repair costs, providing added peace of mind for homeowners. 



Solgen Power is a solar energy equipment company that sells and installs solar for homeowners. Solgen Power has been recognized by INC. 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in the nation. Solgen Power has grown nationwide and continues to provide excellent customer service to homeowners.

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