Solar panels pictured during a hurricane

Protecting your Solar PV System from Damage

As solar energy continues to gain popularity, many homeowners are opting for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional power sources. However, the investment in a PV system is substantial and maintaining it well over time can be critical for its optimal performance. The same exposure to sunlight that powers a PV system can also cause damage, making it important to take proactive steps to protect your investment. In this article we’ll explore some of the common threats that could harm your PV system and ways you can safeguard against them.

What are ways a solar panel can be damaged?

Solar panels can be damaged in a number of ways, with storms and hurricanes being among the most common. Heavy winds, flooding and hail damage can all take their toll on panels, potentially causing physical damage or impairing their efficiency. In addition to weather events, solar panels may also be at risk from impact by objects such as falling branches or other debris.
To protect your PV system from these types of damage, there are several steps you can take. For example, making sure that the panel installation is properly anchored and secured is critical in order to reduce the risk of wind or flood-related damage. Additionally, having insurance coverage for natural disasters is an essential safeguard should any unexpected emergencies occur.
Ultimately taking care of your solar PV system means not only investing in proper installation but also being proactive about its ongoing maintenance needs. With regular inspections and repairs as needed you can help ensure that your investment pays off for years to come without succumbing to otherwise preventable damages.

How can I protect my solar panels if I know a major storm or hurricane is nearby?

If a major storm or hurricane is nearby (please see the NOAA website for the most accurate storm information) protecting your solar panels becomes crucial. According to experts, the first step in safeguarding your panels is turning them off and disconnecting them from the grid. This will help prevent power surges that can damage the system when lightning strikes or if trees fall on it during the storm. Panels nowadays are usually made of tough materials like impact-resistant glass, polycarbonate or acrylic. However, if they are hit by something like a golf ball or a rock their output can be reduced. Covering the panels to protect them from being struck by smaller, flying objects like branches or lawn furniture can also be an added measure to ensure you can turn your system back on as soon as the storm has safely passed. Most often while your neighbors are still without power.  If you are looking for more energy security during a prolonged power outage or natural disaster, see our tips on finding the best solar installer.
Next, consider investing in additional protective measures such as installing wind-resistant mounts or securing rooftop systems with appropriate ballasts. You may also want to have a professional PV installer conduct an inspection before and after the storm to ensure that no damages occurred while providing you peace of mind.
Being proactive about protecting your solar PV system during severe weather conditions can help maintain its performance and longevity. Taking these precautions will not only save you time and money but will also contribute to preserving our environment by continuing sustainable solar energy usage.

What ways that my solar inverter, wiring or racking can be damaged?

Solar PV systems are a substantial investment, and as a result, it is essential to take proactive steps to protect your system from damage. One way that your solar inverter can be damaged is through power surges or lightning strikes, which could cause electrical damage to the circuitry inside the inverter.
Your racking system may also be susceptible to damage from extreme weather conditions such as heavy snowfall or gusty winds. Under these circumstances, poorly installed racks with weak components may become dislodged or even collapse under the pressure of wind and snow load. Likewise, regular exposure to UV radiation may degrade plastic components over time, reducing their strength and consequently compromising the integrity of the rack structure.
Wiring damage is another thing you want to avoid since it can disrupt electricity flow which will hinder proper functioning of your solar panel system. Broken wires due to animal infestation, snags during installation or any exposed wiring pose potential risks for short circuits that can cause fire or electrocution hazards. Durability should be kept in mind when selecting appropriate cables meant for outdoor applications like sunlight resistance jacketing etc. Running conduit to protect wiring, inside an attic space or other void will also offer additional protection. In areas close to the ocean, special thick walled conduit may need to be used to protect against corrosion.
Accountable maintenance plans go a long way towards preventing wire damage, ensuring optimal performance of PV modules, longevity, and ultimately safeguarding financial investments. It’s advisable that homeowners continuously inspect, routinely maintain and run safety checks on their Solar PV connection panels/arrays in order to keep them running at maximum efficiency, thus staying within given warranty period restrictions while maximizing overall ROI (Return On Investment). Ecotech Training offers a variety of NABCEP solar PV related courses from sales to installation to maintenance.
Routine maintenance, checking wiring, panels are secured and racking is properly fixed are all good preventatives
Routine maintenance is a key component of safeguarding your solar PV system against damage. Regular cleaning and inspections can help identify any potential issues before they become major problems. Additionally, checking that wiring connections are secure, panels are properly fixed to prevent shifting or water damage, and racking is firmly anchored can all help prevent costly repairs down the line.
Proactivity in protecting your investment is crucial for maintaining optimal performance of your PV system. The sun’s exposure simultaneously gives life to our source of electricity while potentially causing harm if mismanaged. Correctly identifying common threats such as weather-related events or animal activity can assist in taking the appropriate preventative measures specific to one’s location that will impact their system over time. As this technology gains popularity with homeowners pursuing eco-friendly lifestyle choices, it’s increasingly vital to know how best you can maintain these sustainable energy systems throughout their lifespan without negative impact on performance nor cost-effectiveness.
Solar panels on roof in a storm
If part of my solar PV system gets damaged, who should I contact first, my insurance company or solar installer?
If a part of your solar PV system gets damaged, the first step is to contact your solar installer. They will have a better understanding of the specific components that need to be replaced or repaired and can likely provide quicker service than an insurance company. Additionally, some solar installation companies offer warranties that cover damage to the system.
However, if the damage is extensive or if it falls outside what is covered under your installer’s warranty, you may need to contact your insurance company. It’s important to document any damages and provide them with as much information as possible about the affected parts of your system.
Overall, taking proactive measures such as regular maintenance checks and staying informed about potential threats can greatly reduce the risk of damage to your PV system. But in the event that something does go wrong, knowing who to contact first can help expedite repairs and minimize any disruptions in energy production.
What if I have no warranty or insurance coverage and my solar PV system is unrepairable?
If your solar PV system is unrepairable, and you have no warranty or insurance coverage, the cost to replace it can be a significant financial burden. To avoid this situation, it’s important to take preventive measures by scheduling regular maintenance checks and taking immediate action when damage occurs. Staying up-to-date with industry specifications and maintenance recommendations will also help prolong the lifespan of your system, reducing the likelihood of major issues.
One possible solution for protecting your investment is investing in an extended warranty or insurance policy that covers accidental damage. These policies typically come at an additional expense but can provide peace-of-mind knowing that unexpected damages or major repairs will be covered. Additionally, some manufacturer warranties may cover parts replacement after their expiration date if repairs are needed within a certain timeframe. It’s never too late to invest in protective measures for your PV system, even if you’ve already experienced damage; acting quickly can save you from future headaches and expenses.
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