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Typical Aussie rooftop, with solar panels installed. Hail has caused a lot of damage to the panels.

Can hail damage your solar panels? How to inspect your panels after wild weather

We’ve all seen the damage that hail can cause to cars, but what impact can it have on your rooftop solar panels?

If there’s a storm on the way or you’ve just been hit by some wild weather, you may be wondering what it means for your solar system.

Solar panels are designed to withstand different weather conditions, including hail and thunderstorms. However, just like your car windscreen can sometimes get damaged by extreme hail, the same can happen to your panels. 

How likely is it that solar panels will be damaged by hail?

Because they're made from tempered glass, solar panels will resist hail stones on most occasions. In order to pass Australian standards, they must be able to withstand the direct impact of hail stones with a diameter of 35mm - roughly the size of a golf ball.

Hail stones that are larger than this can cause damage to panels, so we recommend informing your home and contents insurance provider that you have solar panels installed and check that hail damage is covered under your policy.

Checking for hail damage

It’s a good idea to check your solar panels for damage after a hail storm so your household can continue to enjoy the benefits of solar energy.

First, check your inverter. If there has been significant hail damage to your solar system, it’s likely that it will be detected by your inverter. Look at the inverter’s display screen - if you see any red lights, any faults appearing such as ‘ground fault’ or ‘earth fault’, or if there is no indication of any power generation, there could be an issue. It’s best to contact your solar installer to look into it further.

Second, conduct a visual inspection from a distance. If your solar panel is smashed, you should be able to see it from a distance. There could be leaking voltage if they are, so don’t climb on your roof if you think they may have been damaged.

Source: CSIRO

What to do if your panels are damaged

If your solar panels are damaged, you’ll need to contact an installer to have them replaced. This cost is typically covered by home and contents insurance, but you should check with your insurance provider as different providers have different rules.

Damage to solar panels from hail is rare, but if you do get hit by wild weather, following the tips above will help you ensure your solar system remains in top condition, so you can continue to power your home with clean energy from the sun.

The image shown above is from a hailstones that hit Canberra, in January 2020, were golf ball-sized weighing about 20 grams each. That’s larger than normal conditions for ‘Moderate Hail’ and outside the normal testing parameters for PV panels.

The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs and, where appropriate, seek professional advice.