How to Protect Solar Panels From Stones Damage

In an area that experiences heavy hailstorms, measures should be taken to protect your solar panels.  Protecting your solar panels can be crucial to their function.

There are several easy ways to protect solar panel from stone damage. These include temporary protective covers made of methacrylate, plexiglass shields, wire gauge, tempered glass as well as orientation of solar panels. These products can be bought at your local chemical store or Amazon. You still need to maintain your solar panels. You will get the best results if you do these routines every month.


 Methacrylate protect solar panels in high risk areas. This polymer provides extra strength to the panel, repels water splashes, protect against hail, stones and other damage.

Although it serves as a protective layer for solar panels, it is extremely thin and allows sunlight to pass through, stratch-resistant, simple and convenient way for homeowner to protect the solar panels from stones. This synthetic resin  and polymerization catalyst is stronger than glass and will ensure the panels are functional for years to come. 

Plexiglass Shield

Plexiglass is a good choice to protect solar panels from stones. This material is extremely durable, wont shatter like glass, and can withstand extreme weather conditions. The plexiglass will not  deteriorate over time but it will become hazy.

Solar panel covers made out of plexiglass are cheaper and easier to clean than traditional glass. These covers can be cut to fit any panel. Plexiglas panels can be purchased for between $25 and $60.

The disadvantage of plexiglass is it can reduce efficiency up to 30% due to the thickness of the plexiglass.  The recommended thickness is 4mm. The plexiglass may retain too much heat and hinder the absorption of the sunlight. Plexiglas shields will not only provide aesthetic benefits, but also protect the solar panels from stone and insect damage.

Tempered glass

The tempered glass used in solar panels helps them resist stone damage, but this protection is not enough if hailstones strike them. Solar panels must be able to resist hail stones at least 35 millimeters in diameter, or they will break. If a hailstone strikes your solar panels, you can place protective covers over them during a storm. Otherwise, you may have to replace them. Check with your insurance provider, if you purchase a solar panel that is not protected by tempered glass.

Tempered glass is more expensive than plexiglass, but it is worth the extra money. Keeping your panels from getting damaged will reduce maintenance costs. Cut the clear tempered glass to any size you need. Choosing the right thickness of tempered glass is important. The tempered glass thickness is about 3/8 inch. It is not as flexible as plexiglass, so it is best to choose the right one for your solar panels.

Tempered glass is four to six times stronger than standard glass. Tempered glass is a good choice for solar panels, because it shatters into a small, rounded fragment instead of thousands of jagged and sharp pieces. In addition to protecting solar panels from stones, it protects your solar modules from impact from hailstones up to the size of a softball. In addition, it prevents water from ingress.

Despite the pricey material, solar power producers will still need to invest in a solar glass manufacturing plant. The production of solar glass can support as much as 2.5 gigawatts of solar power by 2022, but lack of consistency in government regulations will make it difficult for companies to set up a domestic production facility. Therefore, domestic production of solar glass will remain an expensive and monopolistic industry for some time to come.

Plastic Coverings

Temporary plastic coverings can be used to protect solar panels from stones and hail damage. The plastic coverings should not used if there is a lot hail or high winds.

Plastic coverings should fit over the solar panel with solid sides and holes on the legs. The material should be heavy enough to protect, but light enough to allow light through. Uneven coverings may reflect more light.  Use a digital multimeter to measure the power output once the plastic covering is installed. 

Wire gauge

A wire gauge is a simple DIY project that can protect solar panels against stones. Materials cost between $20-30 for most people. Consider the size and voltage of the PV system when you are designing your wire gauge. The more  wires, the better your protection against hail or wind. 

A thicker wire will transmit more power than one that is thinner. The wire should not be barried because stones and other debris on the panel, can cause damage to the wiring and the solar panel to malfunction. Higher-quality wires are better for protecting your solar array from stones.

Orientation of Solar Panels

The most popular method for hail protection is angular installations. A proper angle will cause hail to slide off your panels. Installing solar panels south of the horizon is a good option. Also, keep in mind a slope when installing solar panel. This will help keep your panels clean and allow water to flow freely.

When considering solar panel orientation, you need to take your location into account. A equatorial location will receive a higher amount of sunlight each day than one located in a rain forest. The angle at which your solar panels should be oriented may vary depending on the time of year. The optimum angle is roughly 30deg above the horizon. If you are on a mountain, or a sloping roof, you may want to angle your panels at a low angle to avoid stones and other debris.

Whether or not you’ll be using your solar panels in rainy regions is another issue, but it’s still worth considering. Aiming your panels towards south will increase their energy output and allow you to benefit from net metering. Likewise, if you plan on using battery storage, facing south will increase your solar energy output. And if your panels face the equator, the best direction is south-facing.

Using the same strategy when installing your panels on a heritage asset may reduce your dependence on the grid and help you go off-grid as well. In addition to reducing your dependency on the power grid, you may also be able to export surplus power to the grid. If you choose to go this route, you’ll also benefit from a 1:1 net-metering scheme that does not care about how much power you produce. However, if you’re using your solar panels as your primary source of electricity, you should choose a solar panel orientation that generates 100% of your electricity use.

In addition to considering the impact of stones and debris, you’ll also want to consider how you can best mount your solar panels to avoid damage from stones and other debris. Mount PV arrays on a frame with a low-pitched angle for small roofs, and install on top of a high-pitched roof for Large-scale roofs .

Certifications for products

Many product certifications are available for solar manufacturers. These include those for hail and wind protection. The solar industry is also working to make panels more durable and long-lasting. SunShot Initiative, a program of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, is an example of a program that makes solar energy accessible to all Americans. PVQAT is a standard-setting organization for solar energy technology.

Most solar panels can be certified to protect solar panels from stone and  impact. These panels have passed stringent testing to ensure they meet all requirements. IEC and UL certifications indicate that the product has passed all relevant tests for hail or stone impact. IEC markings may be used for panels that are sold in North America and UL markings are only applied to panels made in North America. They are the global standard. You should choose solar panels that have these certifications for the best protection.

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