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Do Your Solar Panels Stand a Chance in HAIL?

Before installing solar energy system in your home, you may be wondering whether solar panels are subject to changing weather conditions or not. Solar panels are usually subject to changing weather conditions just like any other outdoor equipment. The solar panels may experience strong winds, heavy rain, and hails. By design, solar panels are designed and manufactured with the ability to hold up against inclement of weather. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) carried out a research between the year 2009 and 2013 to see how hail affects solar panels. The study found out that about 0.1 percent of all the solar energy systems had been affected, damaged, or underperformed due to varying weather conditions. Nevertheless, every solar panel manufacturer usually tests their products to ensure that they possess the ability to withstand hail storms.

Quality tests should be carried out on solar panels to ensure good performance over the 25 year guarantee period. The jurisdiction and the test center requires that several tests should be carried out before solar panels are out in the market. The general references to this subject in the United States are IEC 61215 and 61730 Standards. The general references are usually responsible for stipulating the design qualification standards for module durability. Ultra Violet exposure using xenon lamps is one of the tests that should be carried out. The solar panels should also go through thermal cycling in a climate chamber as well as humidity free cycling. Other tests include; the hail impact test, hot spot tests, corrosion tests, pressure tests which should consider snow, wind and other mechanical loads. Despite these tests, research shows that hail can affect solar panels especially for irregular sized hailstones. Hence, further measures should be taken in order to secure the investment.

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