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Old 04-15-2008, 12:39 PM   #1
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How durable are solar panels? (Hail, ice, etc)

If I'm going to spend the cash on a solar panel system, I really need to ask about their durability and "resistance" to damage...

I only ask this because I live in an area where hail has happened in the past. It doesn't happen often, but it is a possibility. Can hail damage solar panels?

Also, how are the panels against a wet snow load of say 8"? It can snow really hard overnight around here. What sort of weight can a panel handle?

And finally, sleet and freezing rain... same questions.

Do you keep the panels uncovered all the time, or is there some sort of protective cover you have to put on them in case of Mother Nature's wrath?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:30 PM   #2
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The solara flexable panels can be walked on but there is no way I will. Big hail would be damaging I would think but the van itself would be too. I stay clear of pine trees with heavy cones. Even the small green ones can cause trouble. Someone had problems (I think Badger) and made repairs but I don't recall what it was caused from. Glass panels have a sheet of heavy windshield type glass that is tough but causes weight. SMB can put a plug in the van (mine is by the passenger rear tail light) and you can slide a panel somewhere and get it out to point directly at the sun. Panels are affected by shadows and it makes a difference which way the shadow crosses the cells. Pointing at the sun is the way to go. But don't think you can run a 100' of extension cord to put it wherever to get sun. I think 15' would be fine. I plan to stow a 60 Watt panel under my lower bed, and use it when I need it (already have 3 on the roof) Yea hail freaks me out a bit but Ca doesn't get huge hail. I carry rubber blankets I can throw on just in case but what if your away from the van?
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:34 PM   #3
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I have a big thick alumn-sided panel (can tilt it to the side to catch low afternoon or Winter rays). So far its held up to everything mother nature has thrown at it (four years since install). If it started to hail, I'd seek shelter for it though. Its somewhat protected from road damage and front wind by a Yakima rack with the wind deflector. Not a great shot of it, but you get the idea:

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