Solar Panel Damage From Hail? How To Check & What To Do (Repair Explained)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Solar Panels | April 1, 2024

Man in a rain suit tries to hold an umbrella over solar panels to protect from solar panel damage from hail and wonders how hail damaged solar panels repair works for broken solar panels and if solar panel insurance is worth it to protect from solar panel damage threats.

What do homeowners do when their solar energy system experiences solar panel damage from hail?

How do you check for hail damage on solar panels and what can you do to replace or repair any panels that get damaged by inclement weather?

Solar panels are a great way to help disconnect from the grid, but when a solar panel is damaged by hail or debris, what options are available to get your system back to full power?

This complete guide explains what to do when solar panel damage from hail occurs. 

Hail Storm and Hail Damaged Solar Panels (Solar Panel Damage From Hail)

Believe it or not, solar panel damage from hail has been factored into the design of photovoltaic systems as extreme weather conditions cannot be predicted, but can be prepared for.

At one time or another during the 20 or thirty-year lifespan of a solar panel array, the weather will turn nasty and unleash torrential rain, cold snaps, hailstorms, and scorchingly hot spells to batter the panels for hours or days on end.

Designers prepared for those adverse weather days by imbuing solar panels with the ability to withstand the worst that the climate can throw at them.


Numerous hailstones with varying sizes cover a grassy ground.

(Image: David Trinks9)

There’s only so much that tempered glass can withstand when the weather turns nasty, when rainfall turns to ice, and when the hailstones are bigger than golf balls.

Can Solar Panels Withstand Hail? (Hail Damage Solar Panels)

Before solar panels are ushered out of the factory door to enter into the real world and fend for themselves, they undergo a rigorous testing regime. They get a stamp of approval to certify that they can withstand extreme weather conditions with winds of up to 140 mph, continuous and torrential rain, and, of course, hailstones.

Thick tempered glass with an extremely high impact rating is set in the frame to protect the cells within in the event that hail the size of golf balls thunders down from the heavens. Even at that size, the hailstorms bounce off like bullets without causing any damage.

The problem, and solar panel damage from hail, derives from the tempo of the hail.1 If the hailstones fall fast and furious, they actually pose a minimal threat to the cohesion of the glass.

It is only when the stones start to fall like small, thunderous bombs that the surface can be nicked or cracked.

But how much does hail damage solar panels?

It is enough to stop them from working completely, or just affect the power output?

Are Solar Panels Hail-Proof?

Solar panels are hail resistant. Meaning that they have been certified to withstand golf ball hailstones with a diameter of 35mm under certain conditions. Anything bigger will possibly cause some solar panel damage from hail.

Solar Panel Hail Damage: What To Do If Solar Panel Damage From Hail Happens

Solar panels and hail don’t mix well. After a particularly bad hailstorm, it’s always prudent to check for any damage.

There are two ways to do this.

Bird's eye-view of solar panel plant situated in a snowy environment with some parts of solar panels covered in snow.

(Image: Braeson Holland10)

The easiest is to refer to the inverter. If there is any surface or even interior damage the display screen will be flashing a warning sign, either ‘ground fault’ or ‘earth fault’.

Either of these indicates that there is a potentially hazardous electrical fault where the DC current is flowing incorrectly in the circuits before entering the inverter. This level of solar panel hail damage creates the risk of electrical arc flashes that can cause sparks to fly and fires to start.

If the inverter is flashing either of these, do not attempt to repair yourself as there would be the possibility of getting an electrical shock. Always ere on the side of caution and contact your installer.

Visual inspection from a distance is the second method to check for any damage. Just in case there is any sort of voltage leaking from the unit, always do this from a distance, preferably without climbing up onto the roof.

If the solar system is in your backyard or is easily accessible, still do not lay any hands on it until you are certain of its safety status.

Broken Solar Panels (Solar Panel Repair From Hail)

So what to do when the damage is easily noticeable? When nature has taken an icy fist to the face of your nice blue new solar panels?2

Buying a costly replacement panel is the first painful thought that crosses the minds of most homeowners. Fortunately, even damaged solar panels will still be able to provide a certain level of electricity.

Solar panels on a clear winter's morning after they were covered by a hail storm.

(Image: Glen Ivey11)

Undoubtedly there may well be a reduction in power output that perhaps won’t be sufficiently high enough for the owner’s energy needs.

An evaluation needs to be conducted to ascertain the extent of the damage and to measure the level of electricity being produced.

At the first sign that solar panel damage from hail has occurred, the best course of action is to call in the professionals for an evaluation to assess if the damage can be managed or if a complete panel replacement will be necessary.

There will be the temptation to do nothing, to wait, to limp on for weeks or months in the hope that the cracked or shattered panel will keep on working as before. The risk of doing nothing is that of water seeping inside and corroding the metal contacts from moisture or the next bout of rain.

Even when the installer arrives to assess the situation, he will face limitations with what he will be able to do. Part of the problem is that the broken glass will be somewhat integrated with the cells and impossible to separate.

Options will be restricted to weatherproofing if the power being generated hasn’t plummeted through the roof.

To do this the installer could use a transparent polyurethane coating or a waterproof resin to make the panel watertight. Or this could be a DIY job.

  • Before applying either one, ensure that the surface is free from any broken glass, debris, or dust.
  • Do not rinse down with a hose as water can accidentally seep inside,
  • So instead wipe down carefully with a barely damp cloth.
  • Mix the resin, follow the instructions, and apply evenly across the surface to create a water-tight seal.
  • Scrutinize the surface for any gaps or creases where moisture or water could accumulate. If any are found, smooth them out gently.
  • Allow the resin to dry.

Another method that will be just as effective, and just as easy to administer to protect your solar electricity supply, is applying a laminating film to the surface.3

  • Just as with brushing on the resin, the surface has to be cleaned properly.
  • Cut the transparent film to size.
  • Cover the entire panel with the laminating film, smoothing it out as you go.
  • Gently run a heat gun over the film so it will adhere to the solar panel.

Both of these solutions can be undertaken if the power output of the solar panel has not dropped significantly, or if you can live with a slight energy decrease.

Neither is expensive and both are worth trying. If they don’t work then all you’ve lost is a bit of time. What they won’t do, unfortunately, is protect solar panels from hail.

Solar Panel Protection From Hail: How To Avoid Solar Panel Damage From Hail

The destructive force of nature cannot be averted, but it can be mitigated.

Wide shot of a solar field with several damaged panels after a hurricane.

(Image: Lorie Shaull13)

If you’re unlucky enough to live in an area that is prone to hailstorms and are concerned for the well-being of your expensive solar panels there are several options available.

Here are 5 that might just prevent your panels from getting a few facial scars.

  1. Buy a durable cover that can be quickly slung in place when a storm is inevitable.
  2. A polymer plastic called methacrylate is a highly recommended plexiglass shield that can be sprayed over the solar panels to add an additional layer of protection without impeding sunlight.
  3. Erecting a cage of mesh wiring over the solar panels is an excellent barrier to avoid any solar panel damage from hail, as long as the gaps are small enough.
  4. By installing a system that can change the angle of the solar panels, it would be possible to remotely tilt the panels into a vertical position to avoid the worst pelting of the hailstones.
  5. Purchase solar panels with the highest rating against severe storm incidents.4 UL 61730 and UIC 61730 are the highest ratings against hailstone impacts, while IP68 is the highest waterproof and dustproof ratings.

Does Solar Panel Insurance Cover Hail Damage? (Solar Panel Cover)

The 3 states that experience the most hailstorm activity in the United States are Texas, Colorado, and Nebraska, and generally, their homeowner’s insurance will cover damage from hailstones.

However, sometimes the warranties are limited, and may not fully cover the solar panel damage from hail.

It is always prudent to check through the fine print of the agreement to verify that in the event of a hailstorm, the protection you think is actually in the agreement, will cover all the damage that you believe it will.

Solar Panel Hail and Other Causes of Damage to Solar Panels

Solar panel damage from hail occurs not only from the size of the hailstones but also from the speed at which they’re hurtling toward the ground.

Graphics of solar panel system threats showing overhanging trees, heavy rainfall, voltage fluctuations, birds, dusts, snails, salt water, and lightning cartoon images in circle frames.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall, and they have been known to travel at speeds in excess of 75mph. Other hazards that pose a threat to a photovoltaic system whether on the ground or on the roof are

  • Overhanging trees: Branches, twigs, and even fruits can easily break or fall off and end up scratching or marking the solar panel covering.
  • Torrential rainfall can cause water damage if the seals are even slightly worn or loose.
  • Voltage fluctuations can create an effect called potential induced degradation (PID) that can reduce the efficiency rating by 30%.
  • Birds can be a problem by either pecking at the surface of the panels or building their nests on it.
  • Dust building coating the surface won’t cause any damage but will reduce the efficiency over time.
  • Snails streaking back and forth over the surface for a length of time can leave trails in their wake, trails that will eventually obscure light penetration and cause damages if left to accumulate.
  • Saltwater is a very corrosive substance if left to settle. It can weaken the glass and eat away at the seals.
    If it finds itself inside, any exposed metal components will start to corrode quickly.
  • Lightning strikes will without a doubt cause irreparable damage. They are extremely unusual occurrences but deadly when they happen.

Taking preventive steps to protect your property is always advisable, especially when the danger of falling debris or regular hailstorms are regular occurrences.

Solar Panels Hurricane Survival (How To Install Solar Panels on Roof)

Solar panel hail damage isn’t the only concern when the weather takes a turn for the worst. You should follow how to install solar panels on roof properly to improve your solar panels hurricane survival.

Varying sizes of hailstones on brown-colored grass.

(Image: Maraisea12)

Statistics have shown that natural disasters like hurricanes have battered houses and entire neighborhoods over 300 times along the Atlantic Ocean since 1851, sparing not one state from its ferocity.5

A hurricane is categorized by the sustained force of the wind by a method developed by a civil engineer and a meteorologist, Herbert Saffir and Robert Simpson, and is named after them – the Saffir-Simpson scale.

By referring to this scale and conducting rigorous tests under hurricane conditions, solar panel engineers have been able to design incredibly durable and weather-resistant panels to withstand hurricane-force winds of up to 140 mph.

The category of hurricanes are:

  • Category 1: 74-95 mph winds
  • Category 2: 96-110 mph winds
  • Category 3: 111-129 mph winds
  • Category 4: 130-156 mph winds
  • Category 5: 157 mph winds plus

Category 5 hurricanes are rare so even under the extreme rain and winds under a category 4, a PV system has a good chance of weathering the storm from a design point of view.

When attaching the racking into place, installers use extra strong lag bolts that are bolted directly into the rafters to resist the pressure from wind uplift generated from high-velocity winds.

The International PV Quality Assurance Task Force (PVQAT) standardized the stress rating for PV systems in 2011. This was done so consumers would be able to assess the quality of the solar panel installed in their hurricane-prone zone before purchase.

In Florida, the state with the most hurricanes, the design of the PV system is going to have a more robust appearance than the one sold in Maine.

These are the 6 top states that have regularly gotten the full hurricane treatment since 1851

  • Florida: 125 Hurricanes
  • Texas: 66 Hurricanes
  • Louisiana: 63 Hurricanes
  • North Carolina: 59 Hurricanes
  • South Carolina: 33 Hurricanes
  • Alabama: 29 Hurricanes

If you live in any of these states check the durability rating on the system you are about to purchase, and that they are then installed properly on your roof. And then just make sure your roof doesn’t get peeled off in the next 100 mph winds.

Pros and Cons of Solar Energy

There are pros and cons of solar energy that attract consumers worldwide, but not everyone is able to take advantage of this renewable power source.

So what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Pros of Solar Energy Cons of Solar Energy
  • Governments provide financial incentives6
  • Saves money from utility bills
  • Reduces global carbon emissions
  • More powerful portable systems are slowly entering the market
  • After 7-10 years of use, the PV system is CO2 free
  • Reduces the pressure on overstrained electric grid systems
  • Income can be earned by selling excess watts back to the energy grid
  • A separate system can be set up just to power EVs
  • It’s possible to become totally energy independent and go off-grid
  • Newer PV systems have been designed to last for over 30 years
  • Property values can increase with solar installations
  • Virtually maintenance free
  • Very expensive to buy
  • No electricity is produced when the sun goes down
  • The battery storage system is expensive
  • The entire PV system has to be left behind when relocating
  • This creates a carbon footprint as metals need to be mined for production
  • Not all rooftops are suitable to benefit from maximum sunlight exposure so power output is reduced

The pros of solar power far outweigh any negatives. Government and state incentive programs are being promoted on every level to enable businesses, low-income homeowners, and even apartment renters on how they can step onto the solar power ladder.

Cleaning and Maintenance of Photovoltaic Systems

One of the alluring aspects of installing solar panels is that they require very little maintenance. To ensure that they are working to full capacity, once a year a professional should be hired to give them the once-over.

Additionally, a twice-yearly visual inspection should be conducted just to make sure there are no sunlight-blocking obstructions. This can be from simple dust gathering on the surface due to low rainfall, or the shadows of trees looming over your property as they grow taller.

Actual warning signs, such as your energy bills suddenly spiking or an obvious power reduction as indicated on your monitor or inverter, should be an indicator that something else is wrong.

Immediately hire a professional to get to the root of the problem sooner rather than later. The average homeowner knows very little about the inner workings of solar energy panels,7 and the loss of power output will potentially be more expensive than the cost of an unscheduled inspection.

How to check & what to do (repair explained) will keep your PV system firing on all cells effectively for decades to come. This schedule can help with other maintenance and cleaning tasks apart from discovering any solar panel damage from hail.

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Panel Damage From Hail

Are Solar Panels Waterproof?

People ask, are solar panels waterproof? Yes, solar panels are waterproof, but if water enters the system it can cause corrosion and severely reduce the solar panel’s efficiency.

What Types of Solar Panels Are There?

There are 4 different types of solar panels, monocrystalline, polycrystalline, thin-film, and Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) panels.

Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?

One may ask, do solar panels work on cloudy days? Yes, indirect sunlight that is muted or partially blocked by clouds will still allow the solar panels to absorb irradiance and convert that light into electricity;8 it will just be at a reduced level.

How Much Is the Installer Fee for Solar Panel Roof Replacement? How Much Does It Cost To Replace Solar Panels That Are Damaged?

The installer fees range from $100 to $200 an hour, and the cost of a solar panel roof replacement would be between $200 to $400.


1Midwestern Regional Climate Center. (n.d.). Hail. MRCC. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

2Office of ENERGY EFFICIENCY & RENEWABLE ENERGY. (n.d.). Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar. Solar Energy Technologies Office. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

3U.S. Energy Information Administration. (2022, March 17). Solar explained Photovoltaics and electricity. EIA. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

4Office of ENERGY EFFICIENCY & RENEWABLE ENERGY. (n.d.). Hail No! National Lab’s Solar Panels Survive Severe Storm. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

5WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION. (n.d.). Hurricanes. WHOI. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

6U.S. Energy Information Administration. (2022, December 30). Renewable energy explained. EIA. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

7Department of Energy. (2016, June 6). Top 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Solar Energy. Energy Gov. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

8SciJinks. (n.d.). How Do Clouds Affect Solar Energy? NOAA. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

9Photo by David Trinks. Unsplash. Retrieved from <>

10Photo by Braeson Holland. Pexels. Retrieved from <>

11Solar Panels covered in Hail, Photo by Glen Ivey / Attribution (CC BY 2.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>

12Photo by Maraisea. Pixabay. Retrieved from <>

13Damaged field of solar panels, Photo by Lorie Shaull / Attribution (CC BY 2.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>