3/30/24 Texas Hail storm destroys thousands of acres of solar farms

Or as Seinfeld says, "That's a shame."
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Texas hailstorm earlier this week caused millions of dollars of damage in a solar panel “farm.” It wasn't the first time this has happened in Texas or elsewhere.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect solar panels. Read on for great, if not practical, ideas:

Apply a layer of methyl methacrylate to the panels
Methyl methacrylate is a chemical that can be used to coat your solar panels, but watch out-it can cause respiratory problems even with short-term exposure. You'll also need to call in the experts to apply it effectively. Be aware that methyl methacrylate may also impede the panels' ability to absorb sunlight.

Cover your solar panels with wire mesh
Also known as hail netting, wire mesh can be used to cover your panels and protect them from large hailstones, although smaller ones will likely still get through. Again, call in the experts to make sure the mesh is properly placed and secured. Be aware that placing wire mesh over the panels may also impact their ability to absorb sunlight and generate energy.

Install a solar panel protective canopy
This canopy can be placed whenever you see a storm on the horizon, and removed afterward. Call in the experts to make sure the canopy is properly installed and to teach you how to place and remove it safely. Of course, not every storm may be predicted in time to allow you sufficient time to place the canopy over the panels.

Stow the panels at a high-degree tilt
According to kWh Analytics, an asset insurance provider, placing the solar panels at a high degree of tilt can reduce the strength of impact of hailstones. They note that stowing panels in such a manner can reduce insurance premiums by up to 35%, which is possibly another way of saying that if you don't take precautions, your solar panel insurance premiums will rise.
By now it should go without saying that you'll need to call in the experts to make sure that the degree of tilt is just right and the panels don't tilt so much that they tilt right over. Of course, the degree of tilt may interfere with the ability of the panels to absorb sunlight and generate energy.

Buy stronger panels which are more resistant to hail
Look for UL 61730 or IEC 61730 ratings to make sure your panels can withstand most hailstorms likely to hit in the United States. These types of solar panels can hold up against hailstones up to three inches wide traveling up to 88 miles per hour. They'll cost you more—but at least you won't have to replace cracked glass each time freak weather turns up and you won't have to go out to place a canopy over them before each storm.

Use solar panels to protect your roof from hail!
Even if the hailstones crack the glass of your solar panels and highly toxic safe chemicals leach into the environment, at least you won't have to replace your roof tiles.

Unfortunately, none of these fixes are practical for solar farms which are supposed to be profitable, but...

Then again, additional government subsidies could turn a loss into a "profit" via a transfer of tax dollars from working Americans to solar farm owners, who may or may not be American.

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