How to Deal With Hail Damaged Solar Panels

Storm season is once again on its way to Brisbane. That’s bad news for cars parked on the street, but it also poses a risk to the solar panels on the roof of your home. While high-quality solar panels are built to stand up to life in the elements, there are limits to what they can handle. If your area is hit with large hailstones there’s a very real chance some of your solar panels may be damaged.

Before storm season settles in properly, we want to take a look at what to do if your solar panels are damaged by storms and hail.

How Can You Tell if Your Panels are Damaged?

Figuring out whether your solar panels have been damaged can sometimes be a bit tricky. Unless they have been smashed, the signs of damage may not be visible, and you’ll have to rely on other indicators to find out whether they’re working properly.

1. Check Your Inverter

Hail and impact damaged panels often result in a grounding fault. Luckily, the inverter attached to your system should be smart enough to show if a grounding fault is occurring. Check its built-in screen and see whether any warnings are coming up. Similarly, if you have Bluetooth or internet monitoring available, you can check the inverter remotely for fault warnings.
Each brand of inverter has its own fault codes and systems, so if you’re seeing an error then it might be quickest to contact a solar installer or the manufacturer for details.

2. Monitor Power Output

Not all faults will be picked up by your inverter’s software. Some problems might only be noticeable when your power bill comes in the next quarter. To avoid that kind of surprise you should keep an eye on your panels’ power output in the days following a large storm. If the numbers seem low then you may have picked up some damage.

3. Think Twice Before Heading Up To The Roof

While high-quality panels are unlikely to break, when they do it tends to be spectacular. A broken panel will shatter like a windscreen and it will be easily visible from a distance. If you do own a ladder and want to take a look for yourself then be cautious about any sharp debris that may be hard to see until it’s underfoot.

WHat Should I Do Next?

If your solar panels are showing signs of damage you should act quickly to report the problem to your insurance company. Many insurers will cover damage to solar systems as part of your policy, and following large storms, there can be long wait times for inspection and replacement services. You’ll need to:

  1. Contact your insurance and report the fault, provide pictures of any damage they need.
  2. Coordinate with your insurer and an electrician to have the damage inspected.
  3. Get quotes for the repair or replacement of broken components.
  4. Book the repair work with a licensed installer.

Each insurer handles claims differently and it’s best to contact them to find out what their requirements are. If you aren’t covered by your home’s insurance then you can still document and report the damage to a solar installer and they will be able to perform an inspection and confirm which panels have failed.

Repair or Upgrade?

As unfortunate as it may be to have panels broken by a storm, it may offer you a chance to upgrade your system. Depending on the cost of repair and replacement panels, and whether you are entitled to any government solar rebates, your insurance company may decide it’s more cost-effective to replace the system.

You will need to make this decision with input from your insurer or a solar provider. But, since solar technology has improved significantly and come down in price in the last few years, there may be better options now available to you. It could be a good time to consider upgrading your system to one with a larger capacity or to choose a system that comes with solar batteries for even better value.

Has a Storm Damaged Your Solar Panels? Contact BSS Solar Today!

As we once again head into storm season, it’s important to keep an eye on the performance of your panels, especially following storms. If you’re experiencing low output or your inverter is showing error messages, it’s worth contacting BSS Solar for an inspection as soon as possible. We can take care of any reporting you may need for your insurance, and we’re more than happy to provide advice on the repair or upgrade of your system.  

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