What to do when your PV system has been damaged by a storm

Strong winds, storms, and hurricanes can be a problem for every PV system.

Even if it’s not always as extreme as complete systems being swept from roofs, fallen trees or objects whirling around can cause considerable damage to PV systems and solar panels. Even if the damages aren’t always visible at first glance.

How do hail, storms and the like affect your solar panels? What does photovoltaic insurance cover and what should you check after a storm?


The 3 kinds of photovoltaic storm damage


PV modules get torn from the system or blow away

Depending on the wind power (wind, storm or hurricane), photovoltaic modules can be torn out of their anchoring or complete systems can be swept off the roof. The reason for this can be the intensity of the wind. Even the best system can give way in very strong winds. However, it can also be due to incorrect installation of the system, an excessively old roof or insufficient weight of the substructure for elevated flat roof systems.

Flying objects hit your PV system

However, it also happens again and again that flying objects or broken branches hit the photovoltaic system and cause damage. Whereas a module with broken glass is easily spotted, stones, branches or other objects can also leave scratches on the glass or lead to micro cracks in the modules.

Solar modules have come loose in your system

Another problem are solar modules that have been loosened by the storm. This problem is less obvious or evident, but may become a problem as the system continues to operate. This is because if these modules now move up and down with every new wind and storm, unwanted micro cracks can develop in these modules, which in turn can lead to a loss of yield from the photovoltaic system.

Does PV insurance cover storm damages?

It depends a little bit on the insurance cover for the photovoltaic system. If operators have a special photovoltaic electronics policy, the damage is usually covered if the system is properly installed. This kind of insurance protects the PV system against external hazards such as storms and hail.


How should you proceed after storm damage?

Assessing the damages

Because you are dealing with a defective electrical system, you should only have the system checked by a professional, for example an experienced service technician or surveyor.

The expert should document all visibly defective (broken glass) or scratched panels. Furthermore the "flight path" of branches or other objects should be checked. There should be a precise inspection of the solar modules along the flight path. It is possible that other defective or scratched modules will be found.

In addition to the modules, the mounting system and its clamps should also be checked for proper installation. Photovoltaic systems mounted on the roof should furthermore be checked to ensure that they are still in their intended position. Slipped systems may have damaged the roof cladding or may damage it in the future. 

We hope your photovoltaic system was spared from the storm. However, if there are defective photovoltaic modules, you can find out here how and where you can find a suitable replacement panel. 

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