Solar Panels vs. Hail

Feature
By Keith Murphy
14 Jan 2021

WHAT DOES HAIL DO TO SOLAR PANELS?

Let us show you! We made this video of ourselves throwing half-inch ice cubes at a panel. Spoiler alert: we couldn't damage the panel. But, what happens if hail at much higher speeds does damage your solar panel system? Let’s explore the types of warranties you should look for and what they mean for you.

THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS WHEN LOOKING AT A DURABILITY AND RELIABILITY OF SOLAR PANELS:

1 - HAIL

The National Severe Storms Laboratory reports, "For hailstones that one would typically see in a severe thunderstorm (1-inch to 1.75-inch in diameter), the expected fall speed is between 25 and 40 mph." Solar panels have to at least be able to withstand half-inch diameter hail at 50 mph.

2 – UPLIFT/WIND

One of the first things that we have to do when you decide to move forward on a solar project is, we have to get certain engineering stamps. One of those is structural where they actually look at how the panel structurally withstands uplift of wind. The uplift requirement is 140-mph minimum. When you include racking attached to the roof, you're actually going to get up over 180-mph wind. These panels are very durable up there on the roof and aren’t coming off.

3 - STRUCTURAL

We have engineers that do all the math and calculations to make sure that the structure of your home will actually support the downward pressure from the panels as well. 99% of the time there are no issues. Sometimes we do have to go up into an attic space and sister rafters or a floor joist or certain beams but usually not.

WARRANTIES – 25/25/25

This type of warranty is specific to premium module manufacturers. These are important warranties to ask for as they’ll maximize your return in the long term.

25-YEAR PRODUCT WARRANTY

This product warranty is pretty straight forward. The hardware you purchase will work through 25-years. If there's a breakdown in any of the equipment we have monitoring and we’ll see any malfunctions pretty quickly.

It’s pretty easy to request a new panel from a manufacturer like LG. They have manufacturing in the United States in Huntsville, Alabama so we're actually purchasing LG panels that are made here in the U.S.

25-YEAR EFFICIENCY WARRANTY

Most panels have a 25-year efficiency guarantee. What isn't standard is the level of efficiency. Some companies have a 25-year efficiency guarantee and it'll be at 80% efficient through 25 -years. That's pretty good!

LG's is around 92% efficient through 25-years. What you don't want is to purchase a panel and 10 to 15 years from now it has lost all of its efficiency. 25-years at around 91% to 92% efficient is a great deal to push for when buying a new system.

25-YEAR LABOR WARRANTY

LG is a trusted company and they do a lot of things very well. You can trust that the warranty they back their equipment and their electronics with is going to be around 25-years from now. There are some smaller manufacturers that you don't really know how solid that that warranty is.

There are only a few manufacturers out there that have this labor warranty. Through 25-years if there's a hardware malfunction or the efficiency has dropped below where it should have, LG will not only replace the panel for free but will also pay us to do it. It's not going to cost you anything if the panel breaks down for any for any reason.

INSURANCE

Homeowners insurance will cover certain things that are outside of wind and hail and some of the things that we that we've discussed. We have had a homeowner who had an entire tree fall on a solar ground mount. Homeowners insurance covered that.

We have lots of homeowners who have hail damage to the roof around the solar panels. Homeowners insurance covered the cost for us to remove the panels and for us to

reinstall them. The homeowner doesn’t have to pay out of pocket because they already met the deductible for the new roof. The insurance company calls us up they give us an estimate to do this. It's usually a couple thousand dollars to do all that work. Sometimes even less. It just depends on how big the system actually is. We can go in and do that relatively quickly and easily and the homeowner’s insurance will cover that.

NEW ROOF

If you just need a new roof that is a very simple thing for us to do. We just take the panels off and put them back up.

WORKMANSHIP

We do have a workmanship warranty with RisingSun Solar that matches the 25-year warranty with these with the premium manufacturers. We're very confident in the quality of our installations so if you go solar with us, you're covered through 25-years. That’s even transferable to the new homeowner.

We encourage everyone to get at least 2 to 4 quotes before making the decision of what company to go solar with. These are all important questions and points to bring up in your consultations. Go to www.risingsun.solar to get a free quote an