Solar panels and hail

The hail shattered most of the panels on the 5.2-megawatt solar project, sparing an odd panel like missing teeth in a white smile…

Spencer said there’s more to a solar farm than just the panels, and so some of the equipment at the farm might have survived the storm. He said he was previously told the panels were hail proof, but that might have meant hail up to a certain size.



Hail is common in the western plains. Don’t buy a car in Denver without checking for hail damage.

Pulling numbers here from random websites, corrections welcome. Solar farms cost $1/W. This plant is 5.2 MW, so $5.2M if the whole thing is destroyed, but probably only the panels need to be replaced. Hail damage costs $22B/yr in the US. A single 2017 hailstorm in Denver caused $2B in damage. $5.2M is a drop in the bucket of the ongoing cost of hail.


Maybe they should cover them with chicken wire!!

1 Like

I’m sure it wouldn’t be cost effective, but couldn’t some system be built in to cover the panels when expected storms are on the way? Kind of like roll down storm shutters like you see at the beach for windows and doors.

1 Like

Yes you could and no it wouldn’t be cost effective.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

1 Like

Would chicken wire (or something like it) help protect the panels?


Cost of doing business. Hail happens, car dealers get whacked. After an episode here in Knoxville a few years ago I tried to come up with a system (think bubble wrap, but instantly inflatable) they could deploy, but realized they wouldn’t store it nor have time to deploy it before the ice balls started raining down. And too expensive to keep in a shed for the rare times when the big one happens. It’s just one of those things, I guess.

A solar farm after Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the US Virgin Islands in 2017…

Image from here:

  • Pete

These minor solar farm destructions are reminders of many much more devastating disasters for man and man made structures in the last 25 years:

  1. Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed 4 nuclear reactors and required evacuation of over 100,000 people, destroying their homes, businesses, and industry.
  2. 2023 Earthquake in Turkey/Syria registered 7.8 on the Richter scale took over 60,000 lives and destroyed their homes, businesses and industry.
  3. 2022 South African floods killed over 460 people - destroying their homes
  4. 2022 Nigeria floods killed over 600 people - destroying their homes
  5. 2022 Pakistan floods killed over 1800 people - destroying their homes/farms/businesses.
  6. 2010 Earthquake that hit Haiti’s capital city, Port au Prince, affected more than 3 million people, caused over 200,000 deaths, and left two million homeless.
  7. 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake with a power of 9.15 on the Richter scale hit the Sumatra coast and sent deadly waves completely erased parts of Sumatra - it lasted only ten seconds but resulted in 300,000 deaths
  8. 2005 Hurricane Katrina struck the US Gulf Coast, overwhelming levees on the Mississippi River and leaving parts of the city of New Orleans underwater. It killed over 1,800 people and material damage of over $81 billion dollars.
  9. 2005 Kashmir earthquake registered 7.6 on the Richter scale took 86,000 lives and left 106,000 people injured.
  10. 2008 China’s Sichuan Province earthquake magnitude of 7.9 killed over 69,000 people with over 18,000 missing and the damage was over $85 billion dollars.
1 Like