Solar panels are currently gaining popularity among Americans as a source of clean energy and they are a major investment for any property. So, many homeowners often wonder if they need Solar Panel Protective Covers. Typically, solar panels are designed to endure all kinds of weather.
However, protecting your long-term investment against any damage is very important. So, here I am offering an overview of why solar panel protective cover is needed, its types, and its benefits to help you decide whether you need a cover.
Why is it important to get Solar Panel Protective Cover?
Due to weather changes, the adverse weather around different states is increasing. States like Kansas, Texas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming are experiencing severe hailstorms (51mm and above). Even though the solar panels are very resilient, damage due to hailstorms is becoming a little concerning.
In an effort to catch both direct and indirect sunlight, some solar panels are made out of thinner glass. This does increase the capacity but the durability goes down as these glasses are not completely tempered but rather only heat strengthened. Even if these glasses are a cost-effective option, they tend to be more affected by hails.
Another issue is the unseen micro-cracks in solar panels. They are likely to decrease the production capacity of the panels. But in most cases the micro-cracks are invisible and many homeowners may not see any damage until the panel is severely impacted.
Since a solar panel is predicted to last 25-30 years, with proper maintenance, protective covers, and repairs when needed, the panels can serve you very effectively for decades.
Types of Solar Protective Covers
Depending on what kind of protection you are looking for, the solar panel protective cover can be of different kinds:
- Bird Mesh: Pigeon-proofing your rooftop solar panels is very important. Pigeons nesting under your panels will affect your solar panels. So, to prevent that you can set up bird meshes. They attach like clips onto the panels and are very effective.
- Roof Spikes: Setting up spikes will also stop various birds and pigeons from nesting under your panels. They might not look very attractive but spikes along with a mesh will get the job done for you.
- Coating Shield: Methacrylate is a polymer plastic material that can protect your panels against hail. It can be sprayed on the panel surface and another way is to add a thin layer of methacrylate over the solar panels. For the spraying process, it is very important to determine the amount of methacrylate to be sprayed. You can also opt to use a professional for this job. This coating shield is also one of the most cost-effective options in the market. They can cost as low as 50 cents per square foot. Also, they will not have any impact on the performance capacity of your solar panel.
- Hard Shield: If you are looking for something that will give you maximum protection for a long time, you can choose the hard shield. These are made of aluminum and designed like shutters that will open during daylight and can be closed in case of bad weather.
Benefits of Solar Panel Protective Cover
If you are investing in getting protection for the panels, it is important to know how it can be beneficial for you. Let us look at some:
Protects from overcharging
This is one of the best reasons to get your protective covers. They can prevent your panels from overcharging and help keep the batteries in better condition.
This is especially helpful when your solar panels are not in use and do not need to charge.
Protects from Adverse Weather Conditions
One of the main reasons why solar panels are damaged is due to heavy hailstorms and also hurricanes. Flying debris and tree branches also can possibly impact your panels.
So, if you live in a state that is prone to hailstorms and storms it is imperative that you get these protective covers to avert any damage.
Keeps your Panel Clean
Solar panels do accumulate dirt, and debris over time which will reduce the performance of your panels. Besides bird nesting also causes damage to your solar panels. So, if your panels remain unused for a while, the covers can help your panels stay clean and in top working condition.
How to Protect Your Solar Panels?
A little care goes a long way. Even though solar panels need the minimum maintenance efforts but taking care that they do not get cracked or damaged is very critical for prolonged use. Let’s discuss how you can care for your panels.
1. Choosing the right Panels
Today there are many different kinds of solar panels available in the market. So, before you buy the solar panel system do your research about which type will work best for your weather conditions and if they can survive hailstorms and hurricanes.
Also, when you are selecting an installation company, check their records and experience to ensure that you receive the best possible service.
2. Installing Panel Protective Shield
Whether you are thinking of hailstorms or birds, it is essential to get a protective covering system for your solar panels. Consider the weather situation in your area when getting the covers. A hard shield is the best option if your area gets a lot of storms and hail.
Otherwise, you can go for lighter sprays like methacrylate. These are the best options that help keep the panels clean and also protect them from weather damage.
3. Follow the weather conditions
Following your weather channel can simply help to keep your solar panels from severe damage. Keep an eye out for any hailstorm or hurricane warning.
Also, a lot of rainfall will impact the efficiency of your panels, so you may also watch out for warnings of rainy days.
4. Wire mesh
If you are looking for a less pricey option as your solar panel covers you can go for wire meshes. These are lightweight and surprisingly cheap. Although they should be designed and installed by an experienced person which will ensure your panels are effectively protected.
You should also consider the area your wire cage will protect and how much wire you need and make certain that it does not impact the sunlight from reaching your solar panels.
5. Angle System
Your solar panels are generally placed in a way that it receives the maximum sunlight. However, that angle makes your solar panels most vulnerable to hail.
Then again if you install an automatic angle system for your solar panels, you can change the angle to tilt them vertically. That will prevent your panels from both overcharging and from damages to due to hail and heavy rainfall.
6. Maintenance & Inspection
As I have mentioned before solar panel systems usually require the least maintenance; however, it is essential to get them inspected by a professional at least once a year to check if they are in good condition.
These inspections may also help identify any invisible micro-cracks or any dents and bends on your racking system. Also, it is important to check the input-output voltage meters to see if your entire system is working in tip-top condition.
7. Regular Cleaning
Cleaning your solar panels regularly helps to wash away dirt and debris collected on your panel’s time. These can prevent sunlight reaching from your panels and impact the production of electricity.
It is recommended that you get the panels professionally cleaned every one or two years.
8. Get proper Insurance
It is important to notice if your home insurance covers damages to your solar panel system. Repairing and replacing your solar panels may cost a huge amount, so insurance protection will prevent any major monetary loss on your part.
Solar panels are an environmentally friendly way to provide electrical power to your home. It is worth investing in solar panels as it will save on your energy and at the same time reduce your carbon footprint.
Your solar panel system is built in a way that will last you for decades. If you take proper care of it, then they will perform effectively for years. So, consult a professional solar installer to ensure that you have all the protective measures necessary for your solar panels.
- Solar Panel Protective Cover prevents damage to your panel from adverse weather like hurricanes, heavy rainfall, and hailstorms.
- Follow the weather conditions to know how to protect the panels
- Ensure that your solar panels are protected by home insurance.
- Clean the panels regularly to prevent dirt and debris from impacting energy production.
1. What will damage solar panels?
Answer: The three most common ways your panels can be damaged are:
- Large amounts of dust and debris will accumulate and reduce the efficiency of your solar panel system.
- Hailstorms: Even though solar panels can withstand many kinds of harsh weather, strong hailstorms are a major concern for damage to your system
- Water Leakage: sometimes due to heavy rainfall, water can get inside your panels which can impact the production of power.
2. Will a solar panel work if the glass is cracked?
Answer: A solar panel will still work if it is slightly cracked, but it will not work up to its potential. However, if a panel is rigorously cracked, in that case, it is better to replace it.
3. How much does it cost to replace a broken solar panel?
Answer: Repairing a cracked panel can cost around $100/hr. but if you are looking to replace an entire panel due to massive damage that will cost about $200-$400.