Here at SolarReviews, we’ve received quite a bit of questions centered around the performance of solar panels under different climate conditions – and so it’s only within our nature to answer a few of them.
What happens if there’s a snowstorm? Typically, it’s strongly advised that you choose a spot on your roof that is least affected by snow – though, we understand that during a snowstorm, this could virtually be impossible to avoid. Don’t worry – as many solar panels are dark enough to retain heat that the likelihood of snow melting off them is much quicker than you’d think.
Can my solar panels survive hail? This may be the most asked question we receive. According to Rich Hessler, a Californian photovoltaic specialist, a hailstone hit at speeds of up to 120 mph rarely translates as a solar power system killer, as long as the module’s frames don’t collapse and glass fragments don’t damage the cells. Most solar panels are tested to endure a direct hit from a hail stone 1" or smaller at 50+mph. In the U.S., most hail storms come from the north, with solar panels facing south, which means they can endure larger sized hail stones with a glancing blow. In other words, solar panels are quite resilient to hail, although you’ll want to make sure your solar panels are covered as a part of your homeowner’s insurance policy.
What if I live in an area with high winds and hurricanes? Solar manufacturers make sure that they design solar panels to withstand high winds. If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes, your insurance company will require that you have “hurricane proofing” for your solar panels. Also know that should any damage occur, solar manufacturers have warranties and you should have homeowners insurance to help with any repairs, as needed.
How effective are my solar panels in other weather conditions such as fog and rain? As highlighted by Residential Solar 101, under cloudy and rainy weather conditions, your solar panels drop 40% – 90% depending on how dark and heavy the rain and clouds are. Now, if we’re to look at fog – know that your solar panels will still work. For example, the amount of power you’ll generate depends on the thickness of the fog; if the cloud cover is at its worst, your panels might produce only 5-10% of the energy they normally do, but a thin layer of fog has much less impact on solar energy output. Even if you live in an area with lots of foggy days, what really matters is how much sunshine your roof receives over the course of a whole year, not on a given day (One Block Off Grid).