Solar Panel Durability
Hail, high wind, searing heat and extreme winter conditions are all familiar to our region. So how tough are solar panels, and will they endure decades of weathering? Here's a look into how and why our installations are designed to last under extreme conditions.
The Black Hills can endure more than forty thunderstorms every year, including hailstorms, with sometimes massive hailstones exceeding 4-inches in diameter.
The largest hailstones in Rapid City are usually around 1.50" to 1.75" in diameter, but in nearby Vivian a world record 8-inch diameter hailstone was recorded.
Thankfully, high quality solar panels are designed with tempered glass and are tested and certified specifically for resistance to hail. In fact, solar panels are considerably more durable than common roofing materials.
It is not impossible for massive hailstones to damage solar panels, but it is rare. In the unlikely event, solar panel hail damage may be covered by homeowners insurance.
Our region also experiences 60 to 80 mph winds with 100 mph gusts. When properly installed, solar structures and attachments will withstand the worst-case scenario. But given that most solar arrays are installed only inches from the roof deck, a little setback from the roof edges keeps the array safe.
Ground snow load can be 40 to 50 pounds per square foot in our region. Snow load is a significant design factor, influenced by the specific location, the roof construction and roof pitch. The hardware we use can accommodate snow loads well in excess of the average.