How to Protect Your Solar Panels From Hail Damage

solar panels hail damage

With hail season in full swing, protect your solar panels from hail damage to keep their energy supply in working condition. 

Solar panel hail damage happens in the blink of an eye. One minute the sun is shining bright across the Lone Star state, then suddenly, debris the size of golfballs rattles down and wreaks havoc that’s often expensive and stressful to repair. 

Needless to say, there are several ways to mitigate Mother Nature’s actions to ensure your safety at all times. If you’re curious as to how you can stay ahead of any potential problems, here’s how to protect your solar panels from hail damage: 

Know What Your Solar Panels Can Withstand

According to research from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a survey of 50,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed in the U.S. between 2009 and 2013 found that only 0.1% of them were damaged or classified as malfunctioned each yearly review. 

This means that solar panels have outstanding durability when it comes to extreme weather patterns. In fact, manufacturers actually test their solar panels to ensure that hail storms won’t be an issue. 

Generally, solar panels can endure hailstones up to one inch in size (25mm) at a falling speed of 50 miles per hour. To give you an idea of how this translates in a real scenario, back in 2017, the NREL campus in Golden, CO faced a devastating hail storm that shattered car windows and left dents in homeowners’ roofs. Surprisingly, of the 3,000 panels on their building, only one was broken, which means you can trust that your panels hold up pretty well in the face of danger.

Stay Up-to-date with Local Weather Reports

Now that you know how resilient your solar panels are, your next best move is to stay up-to-date with local weather reports so you can anticipate any serious strikes. 

There are some great resources that residents in North Texas can take advantage of when it comes to weather preparedness. Here are a few of them to consider:

  • Sign Up for Text Alerts: The Office of Emergency Management in Fort Worth offers a free text alert system for anyone who inquires. All you have to do is text your zip code to 888777 or register online. Within minutes, you’ll get a detailed report that notifies you about any impending hail storms or severe weather attacks. 
  • Download Weather Apps On Your Phone: Thanks to technology, you can get access to detailed weather reports in a matter of seconds by downloading weather apps on your smartphone or mobile device. Weather Underground, The Weather Channel, and RadarScope are some of the best weather apps of 2019 for you to stay informed, so train yourself to do daily check-ups during hail season. 
  • Find Shelter In Case of Emergencies: Hail storms may only do minimal damage to your solar panels, but they can do much more to your car, home, or even yourself! With this in mind, it’s best to choose a designated shelter for you and your loved ones to retreat to in case of emergencies. This can be a basement, a secure part of your home, or a covered parking space.
  • Get Comprehensive Insurance Coverage: Lastly, many parts of North Texas offer comprehensive insurance packages that cover natural disasters. This means that if your solar panels (or any other parts of your home) are damaged from hail, you can get them replaced without having to pay a fortune. Just make sure to check over your homeowner policy to ensure that it includes solar panels. In most cases, a panel may have to be removed and reinstalled so a roofer can fix a damaged roof. 

Perform Regular Maintenance to Your Solar Panels

Although hail storms are unpredictable in terms of how much damage they can cause, it’s always a good idea to perform regular maintenance to your solar panels to ensure they work properly and are ready for anything.

For instance, you can do several things to keep your solar panels running at optimum levels. Plus, the workload is relatively simple: 

  • Keep Your Solar Panels Clean: All kinds of grime and debris can stifle the abilities of your solar panels over time. On a regular basis, make sure to clean them with water and wipe them free of dust, rain residue, bird excrement, tree limbs, or pollen. In some cases, hiring a professional to clean your solar panels is a good idea to avoid dangerous heights. 
  • Install a Solar Panel Cover: Some solar companies may provide you with a protective cloth that covers your solar panels from light debris and buildup. However, remember that your equipment is quite durable on its own! That being said, there aren’t too many mainstream options when it comes to dedicated solar panel covers, although you can install your own using plexiglass from your local hardware store. 

Keep Your Solar Panels Protected No Matter What

Despite how strong your solar panels may be against the elements, nothing beats the reassurance and know-how of a solar panel professional at Solartime USA

Our team provides custom solar designs to ensure your new solar panels fit perfectly to your home, along with them performing at their highest levels to give you maximum energy at an affordable cost. 

To learn more about our residential solar panels, custom solar designs, or to inquire about maintenance issues, please contact Solartime USA today.

HOW DO SOLAR PANELS PERFORM DURING DIFFERENT WEATHER CONDITIONS?

 

If you are thinking about going solar, it is crucial to understand how the weather may affect their efficiency and output. Solar panels are very adaptable to different weather conditions, and are installed all over the world, in places such as the below freezing temperatures of Alaska and the searing heat of the Sahara. Lets take a look at different weather conditions and how they affect the solar production.

Cold

Solar panels’ production is more reliant on the amount of the sunlight that reaches the panels, than the temperature of the air surrounding them. However, since we are dealing with electricity, it is known that as the panels get hotter, they produce less energy even with the same amount of sunlight. The panels are tested at a temperature of 25 degrees C- about 77 degrees F, and heat can reduce that efficiency by 10-25%. That’s why the best production months for Texas are during spring and fall, when days are already long, but the temperature is mild!

Clouds

Solar panels are designed to use direct and indirect sunlight to generate electricity. As a result, clouds reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches your panels.  That being said, solar panels will still generate electricity, just about 20-30% of its full capacity. No worries, you are still producing power even when the clouds are up there!

Rainfall

Solar panels produce electricity even on rainy days due to visible sunlight getting through the rain. Rain is beneficial for solar panels, as it helps to keep your panels operating efficiently by washing away dust, pollen, birds’ droppings, and or debris. So rainy days are solar-shower days!

Snowfall

A little bit of snow, as in the case of rain, can be useful for cleaning solar panels. The sunlight can still pass through a thin cover of snow. Designers always install solar panels at the most effective angle to help with sun reflection and the fall of snow if needed. Fortunately we do not have to deal with this as much, here in Texas!

Hail

Solar panels could possibly be damaged by a heavy hailstorm, but it is very rare. Fortunately, if it happens, any potential damage caused by severe weather conditions would be covered by your home owners insurance, just like your roof. Solar Panels are tougher to break than your roof, so you can sleep calm! They will withhold the hail and if not we will work with your insurance to fix them if needed!

Wind

Most solar panels can withstand winds up to 100mph. Every solar installation is firmly attached to the roof. The panels must be properly mounted to a sturdy, immovable surface to pass the final inspection.

If you still have any questions regarding the performance of solar panels share your questions with us at office@solartimeusa.com or call/text us 972 675 7725.

 

Solar power is great, but where do I start?

 

 

Our number one goal is to make ALL of our customers happy! One of them offered to write a blog post explaining how easy it was to go solar. We asked her to tell us her story and this is what she wrote:

That’s a great question and it can be an overwhelming task to try to figure out. My name is Heike and I had that same daunting task ahead of me, where do I start? How do I find out more? How do I know I’m dealing with a legitimate company…oh, and even worse, I’m a co-op member is Solar power even possible for our family?

All those questions made my head spin, luckily that was a little over a year ago and I am happy to say I now have answers! I’m happy to share my experience with you and hopefully take some of the headaches away for you.

As I mentioned I’m a co-op member, not by choice mind you, that’s the only option where we live, however, we now have solar panels!!!

From my experience, it’s most important to have a company that is honest, helpful and passionate about solar power and helping others become solar power users.
After talking to a few other companies I finally found Solartime USA!!! Right at the first meeting, I was impressed with the knowledge and history of the company, this is a family owned and ran a company that has been in business in Europe for many years (let’s face it; Europe has been at the forefront of the task to save our environment).

Solartime USA will have a representative come out, go over your ideas with you and help you get the system you envision, whether that is roof mounted, a ground mount or even on a carport. The support is amazing, they will walk you through the entire process, pretty much handle everything for you from design to finance to installation (in our case they handled everything with the co-op as well!)…The icing on the cake is the 30% tax credit from the government and yes, you guessed it, Solartime USA even has help available for claiming your tax credit- for FREE! You’ll end up with a high-quality system with a great warranty. Most importantly, the support continues after installation, your system is remotely monitored. We’ve gotten random cards in the mail or a call to make sure we are happy with our system.

The entire process, from the first meeting to completed installation only took a few weeks! All those hours I spent worrying about how to get solar was basically wasted, this was so very easy once I found Solartime USA. We produce energy for ourselves, what we overproduce we sell back to the co-op, our electric bills have drastically shrunk, we made it through the winter months that usually produced $500 to $650 monthly bills to our highest bill being $130. Going solar has been a great choice!!! In a nutshell, going solar can be very simple, it has been for us, it can be for you. All it takes is to reach out…here’s how:

Call: 972-675-7725     Email: gosolar@solartimeusa.com or go online: www.solartimeusa.com

 

 

 

 

High Electric Bills? Learn How You Can Cut Back On Energy Usage

residential solar panels

In our innovative, tech-focused, and eco-conscious age, it’s surprising that a larger number of Americans aren’t choosing to live green. In just a few small steps, you can minimize the amount of energy you use and cut back on your utilities.

There’s more you can do to make your home energy efficient than just installing a new refrigerator. There are energy-saving tactics both big and small you can take part in to make your home a more efficient, and greener, place.

Here’s what you can do to lower your utility bills, cut back on your energy resources, and make your environmental footprint just that much smaller.

Remember Your Windows

Your windows are a key player when it comes to making your home more energy efficient. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed by how often homeowners forget about these energy-suckers.

Don’t open your windows during the fall and winter months if you’re looking for a cool breeze. Instead, turn down the thermostat. By doing so, you’ll save your HVAC system from overworking itself to fight against the draft.

Make sure that your air conditioning unit fits properly in your windows during the summer, too. If the accordion wings on your unit don’t fit flush against the window frame, you may be cooling the outdoors in addition to your house!

During temperature-neutral days, turn your HVAC system off and let the weather outside naturally regulate the temperature in your home. You can also add weather stripping to your windows and doors that will help to retain your home’s internal Temperature throughout the year.

You may also want to install an automatic, or programmable, thermostat. These thermostats can be as cheap as $20 and work great to cut energy use without sacrificing comfort.

Here Comes the Sun…

The sun can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to making your home more energy efficient. If your home is in an area where there aren’t many trees to provide shade, you might find yourself fighting to crank up the AC high enough during the summer months.

The good news is you can save yourself the high energy bills during the summer by installing blackout curtains over your windows. Blackout curtains help to keep the sunlight out so your home doesn’t turn into an oven and your AC unit doesn’t have to overwork itself.

You can also take advantage of your home’s sun-soaking abilities by installing residential solar panels. Residential solar panels allow particles of sunlight (photons) to knock electrons free from their atoms. This generates a flow of electricity.

By generating your home’s electricity using the same sunlight that overheats your house during the summer months, you can save significantly on your energy bills. What’s more, because you’re generating energy using sunlight instead of using an electricity service, you’re reducing the number of fossil fuels burned.

Unplug Your Electronics When They’re Done Charging

There’s a reason why it’s commonly suggested to unplug your electronic devices when they’re not in use. And it’s not just because it’s a fire hazard.

When you leave your phone plugged in even after it’s fully charged, it continues to pull energy from the grid. This is true of other electronics as well including your laptop, your TV, stereo, game console, and more.

You’re paying for additional electricity that isn’t even being used. Those small price hikes can build up over time and leave you wondering where all your money’s gone.

To save money and energy (and to reduce the risk of an electric fire) get in the habit of unplugging your chargers when they’re not in use. This includes pulling your charger out of the wall when your phone is done charging too, not just unplugging your phone.

It can also help to plug your electronics into a power strip that can be turned off when you’re not using your devices. This way, you don’t have to worry about what needs to be unplugged when you’re hurrying out the door. You only need to flip the switch on the power strip and you’re good to go.

Interested in Installing Residential Solar Panels?

In 2018, utility-scale electricity generation facilities in the U.S. generated up to 4.18 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity. But only 17% of that energy came from renewable resources. Residential solar panels give you the chance to draw your home’s energy from a renewable resource and do your part in the fight against climate change.

Solartime USA offers residential solar panels and solar panel installation so you can make your home more efficient all in one place. To learn more about our solar installation process and solar panel design, contact Solartime USA today.

Thinking Of Installing Solar Panels? Here’s What You Need To Know

installing solar panels

A growing number of homes across the United States are upgrading their roofs with residential solar panels. While some homeowners are motivated by going green and fighting climate change, others are choosing to install solar panels to gain energy independence.

No matter your motivation, residential solar panels offer many benefits that can make every homeowner happy. But, before you call up your local solar panel installers, it’s important that you first understand what you’re getting into.

Here are some important things you need to know about solar panels so that you can have a better understanding of how your future solar energy system works.

installing solar panels

How Do Solar Panels Work?


Solar panels work kind of like plants: they capture as much sunlight as possible and process that sunlight to turn it into energy. This sounds simple enough, but the actual process by which solar panels capture the sunlight and turn it into electricity is a little more complicated.

Electricity needs a positive charge to flow. This positive charge is created in your solar panels when sunlight comes into contact with the silicone/boron materials your residential solar panels are composed of.

When sunlight comes into contact with your solar panels, the electrons in the panels become unsettled. These electrons want to return to their undisturbed state, and this dissonance creates energy.

The energy that’s created by these antsy electrons travels through an inverter and into your home. Once there, this energy can be used to power your electronics, appliances, and lights.

Because your solar panels are able to create electricity using the energy from the sun, they effectively replace your power company, who generates electricity using coal. To generate this non-renewable energy alternative, coal is burned to boil water and create high-pressure steam. This steam is then forced through a turbine to generate electricity using magnetic induction.

Not only do solar panels replace your need to use a power company but they also replace the power company’s need to burn coal to generate power. You’re helping the environment in more ways than one.

What Do I Need An Inverter For?


Your solar panels don’t generate power that can be used directly in your home. That’s what your inverter is for.

Residential solar panels generate direct current power. Your house uses alternating current power.

Your inverter will convert the direct current power from your solar panels into alternating current power that’s usable in your home. The panels maintain the alternating current voltage of 110 volts at 60 cycles (Herz) per second.

Your inverter is rated in terms of watts. You need to match your inverter correctly to the solar panels’ output voltage for it to work.

It’s worth mentioning that your inverter will lose a small amount of power as heat, which can sometimes affect its efficiency. But, never fear, inverters often come equipped with sensors that would shut it off automatically if something were to go wrong.

How Do Solar Panels Save You Money On Your Energy Bills?



Now that you know how solar panels work and what your inverter is for, you may be wondering just how your solar panels can save you money. After all, are a major investment. But don’t worry: they more than make up for the original investment.

Every kilowatt-hour of energy you generate using your residential solar panels is an hour you don’t need to buy from your power company. While you’re taking a bit of an initial cost hit with your solar panels, every kilowatt-hour of energy generated from here on out is a kilowatt-hour saved.

It’s kind of like buying a (significantly cheaper) house. Once you pay off your “mortgage,” you start building equity. The same is true of your solar panels.

Once you make a return on investment on your solar panel installation, you can save hundreds of dollars every year because you’re not paying anyone for the energy you’re using. Even as other energy costs rise due to inflation, the solar power captured by your solar panels is free for your use.

How Much Solar Power Can I Generate?



How much solar power you can generate typically depends on where you live and what your climate is like. That’s what makes Texas and California such great places for solar panel installation: both states receive tons of sunshine.

The amount of sunlight your region receives is called insolation, which depends on the angle of the sun relative to your area. For instance, the Texas Panhandle region receives 5.5 to 6.0 kilowatt-hours of sunlight per square meter every day.

Even if you live in a really sunny place, it’s still important to place your solar panels in the right spot. You want your solar panels placed where they can receive optimal, direct sunlight and won’t be shaded by other buildings, trees, or shrubs.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need To Install?



How many solar panels you need installed largely depends on your electrical usage and your insolation. Start by determining how much electricity you use in watts.

The size of your roof will also determine the number of and the kind of panels you can mount. The cost per kilowatt-hour for energy usually goes down as you increase the size of your solar panels.

Is Installing Solar Panels Really The Best Choice For Me?



Solar panels aren’t for everybody. For instance, if your home is situated in a shaded area and you don’t receive a lot of sunlight, you might not save a lot of money on your energy bills by investing in solar panels. But, if you live in a very sunny area and your home receives plenty of sunlight, it may be a good idea to consider installing solar panels.

Just remember that, while the transition to solar power can be complex, you can keep it simple by choosing the right solar power company to install your panels. Look for a full-service solar provider that’s licensed, bonded, and insured.

Ask them any questions you need to feel secure installing solar panels on your roof. The better you feel about installing your solar panels, the more you’ll get out of using them.

Looking For The Residential Solar Panels Dallas Residents Prefer?

 

With climate change causing major issues for the environment, it’s crucial that everyone finds a way to do their part to become more eco-friendly. One of the best ways you can help the environment (while saving money in the process!) is by installing residential solar panels.

Since 2010, the cost to install residential solar panels has dropped by more than 70%. That means it’s more affordable than ever to invest in going solar. If you install your solar panels this year, you can even claim a 30% tax credit! Act fast, though, because come 2020, the tax credit drops to 26%.

While installing solar panels can be a big investment, there are options to reduce this initial financial hit. Solartime USA offers financing plans where you do not have any initial cost, your electric bill decreases as a result of your new solar power, and you exchange that payment as a sort of ‘solar collateral’. There are plans that take between five and twenty years to pay off with interest as low as 3.99%!

Solartime USA provides custom solar designs to ensure your new solar panels fit perfectly to your home. To learn more about our residential solar panels and custom solar designs, contact Solartime USA today.