Solar panel damage from hail storm

jcgee88jcgee88 Solar Expert Posts: 154 ✭✭
My city of Maryland Heights, MO, got pummeled during the hail storm that occurred
April 28th. Seven of my solar panels were destroyed, but amazingly, eight survived
without a scratch. The hail stones were the biggest I have ever seen in my life!

EDIT: I added a photo which shows the somewhat random distribution of the
destruction. Also note the smudges on my roofing shingles - those are the "hits"
that insurance adjusters count to determine whether you qualify for a new roof.
If you get more than 10 hits per 100 square feet, you qualify. A hit cracks the
underlying fiberglass backing, which then allows it to leak. My neighbor's
insurance adjuster counted 100 hits per 100 square feet on my neighbor's roof.

John
«1

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,988 admin
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    Wow, my condolences... Cars/vehicles/home otherwise OK?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • jcgee88jcgee88 Solar Expert Posts: 154 ✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    Thanks, Bill.

    One car suffered severe damage, and we'll need a new roof.
    On the former, fortunately that is my oldest car. On the latter,
    the area is swarming with roofing companies now!

    John
  • DillDill Solar Expert Posts: 170 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm
    jcgee88 wrote: »
    Thanks, Bill.

    One car suffered severe damage, and we'll need a new roof.
    On the former, fortunately that is my oldest car. On the latter,
    the area is swarming with roofing companies now!

    John

    we had a similar storm here in the Twin Cities area over Memorial Weekend 2008. You'll soon be tired of the contractors coming door to door...be very wary of payout offers from your insurance company as well, I had to fight mine for almost a year to get my home mostly restored back to normal. Good luck.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm
    jcgee88 wrote: »
    Thanks, Bill.

    One car suffered severe damage, and we'll need a new roof.
    On the former, fortunately that is my oldest car. On the latter,
    the area is swarming with roofing companies now!

    John
    Be careful with those roofing companies. Same thing happened here about 2 years ago, and now half the roofs from those "roof chasers" are having problems. I went with a local A+ rated contracter, and the rood is perfect still, even though it cost me an extra $1500. But insurance might force you to go with one they pick.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    i'm curious as to the angle you have them placed at with respect to ground? ie flat or horizontal equals 0 degrees.
  • DillDill Solar Expert Posts: 170 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm
    Windsun wrote: »
    Be careful with those roofing companies. Same thing happened here about 2 years ago, and now half the roofs from those "roof chasers" are having problems. I went with a local A+ rated contracter, and the rood is perfect still, even though it cost me an extra $1500. But insurance might force you to go with one they pick.

    exactly. I ended up paying out of pocket to get the job done right. The insurance company only wanted to replace half of my 15 year old vinyl siding... :grr
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,988 admin
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    So I don't sound too heartless:blush:, I hope family, friends, people, and pets came out OK.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • jcgee88jcgee88 Solar Expert Posts: 154 ✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm
    niel wrote: »
    i'm curious as to the angle you have them placed at with respect to ground? ie flat or horizontal equals 0 degrees.

    I have an L shaped set (shown in the picture with three panels destroyed), that is at 30 degrees.

    I also have a row that is uptilted on my back roof (shown in picture of two panels destroyed), that is at a net 10 degrees.

    Both sets suffered approximately 50% damage.

    John
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,984 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    WOW !! Sorry to see/hear this. Have never seen hail larger than the size of a pea.

    Good luck with the insurance co. They do love to pay. Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • NorTracNYNorTracNY Registered Users Posts: 13
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    Wow, so these panels were all from the same manufacturer? I figured with those results that they were 2 different types. I wonder if they came from different factories.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm
    NorTracNY wrote: »
    Wow, so these panels were all from the same manufacturer? I figured with those results that they were 2 different types. I wonder if they came from different factories.

    same manufacturer. one pv is using fewer larger cells than the other which has more smaller cells.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,077 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    Curious what kind of output are you getting out of them?

    I had a forum member from Piedmont Mo, come up and picked up my cracked panels, I'll pass his name along to you if your insurance will flat cover them...

    I was surprised when he said the worst of the panels, pushed in 2" at the corner, still had continuity.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • BilljustBillBilljustBill Solar Expert Posts: 212 ✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    I, too, am sorry to hear of your damage. Soon, I'll have a 3kw-4kw size solar panel system and will have it covered under my homeowner's policy.

    In the view of helping you "get what is due you", let me show you what I did when 30 solid minutes of golf ball size hail hit back in April of 2008:

    After seeing all the leaves beat off the trees and almost 6" deep on the lawn, and letting all the damage soak in so the brain can comprehend what happened, my quest to get every dollar due me began.

    The adjusters were first working with homeowners that had roof leaks or major safety issues, so it was more than two weeks before he showed up. We didn't have that kind of damage, so it only gave me extra time to take pics and list more damage I overlooked.....

    Things to Consider When Dealing with the Adjuster

    Because we were building a storage cabin at the time of the hail, a lot of materials and things were tarped and being stored outside. I learned a lot in dealing with that year's damage. State Farm adjusters were so overloaded with referrals, I had to call them back three times for things that were overlooked.

    A few days before the adjuster arrived, I took a notepad with me as I walked and looked at everything damaged, then wrote it down. I made zones of the lot, so the things could easily be located if the adjuster came back. Then, I went back over that list on another day only to find many other things I'd missed. To help deal the usual insurance deductible, and the "Additional" 1% of the policy's coverage for a hail and wind deductible, reporting the following things can mean getting reimbursed for "little things" that add up and can pay for your deductibles!! Things like:

    Damage of solar landscape lights and yard art, the rain gauge, broken flower pots and the pelted plants in them, bird feeders, the seat and hood of our riding mower, the damaged plastic cover to the propane grill if not the grill itself, damages to the wooden fence facing the storm and end tops of individual fence boards along the fence that the large hail split and splintered. There's an adjustment to have the cooling fins on the outside air conditioner unit straightened (Combed) were noted, as well as any dented or paint-damaged gable vents or roof turbines.

    In addition to cracked/broken window panes, any visual or physical damage to window trim and skid marks on the window screens need to be paid for. Chimney caps, weather vanes, outside light fixtures, metal dings to garage doors, and even if you are on cable, don't forget the old used/unused TV antenna. If you took pictures of some damage that has already been cleaned up, like pressure washing where leaves and debris were stuck to surfaces, the adjuster will take those and pay for it to be cleaned or for your work cleaning them.

    Go over the paperwork with a fine-toothed comb that's included with the Insurance Check. Just because you tell and show the adjuster the damage, you'll find that by the time he takes damage pictures and does the write-up, several things will get left out. If you are lucky, you can call him back for another visit or over-the-phone corrections. But like ours, if he is on a team from out of state, then an adjuster with a new face and no background of your claim should come back to be "re-educated and shown" those missed items to be addressed. I had some round, spiral metal ducting for my dust collection system in the work shop; new it's over $5.50 a running foot. It was laid outside and looked like a ball peen hammer hit it. Having that dust collector company's name and number ready, I got it replaced, including the freight costs to get it here.

    Remember to ask for replacement with labor/materials for repainting damage to the Fascia at least to the corner where it turns or the whole linear footage so it matches. Remember to include the extra cost of upgraded metal drip edge that is painted rather than the normal galvanized kind. The Insurance Adjuster usually pays for #15 tar paper (roofing felt), but check to see what you have. If it's #30 felt, then that's twice the cost of #15 felt and needs to be added in to his figures at no cost to you.


    Roof and Shingle Considerations:

    We had 30yr Architectual Shingles over #30 tar paper. Our house's ELK shingles were 14 years old; the new shed's 30yr. Owens/Corning shingles were just 90 days old. With oil prices high at the time after the hail, and shortages of shingles over nine states, it made me think what will it cost next time a new roof is put on? What if you can't get shingles or if the economy forces the insurances to do "spot repairs" instead of full roofs???? Nowadays, if the economy doesn't tank itself, the possibility of oil going well over $100 a barrel, and another short supply of shingles when the next wide spread hail hits, it's got to cost more in the future. So, I decided to put the best roof on I could get for the money....

    A metal roof was considered, but in addition to costs that were between $500 and $800 a square, the insurance companies will want you to sign a wavier. They will give you a Homeowner's discount for a metal roof, but the wavier is for "Cosmetic Appearance". If hail hits, they won't replace a metal roof on the house if it's not leaking, just because it's all dented up..... I found a hail resistant shingle that qualifies for Homeowner's discounts like a metal roof, but if it hails really, really bad to actually damage it, it would be considered replaceable. It is made by GAF/ELK and called "Armor Shield II". Our homeowner's insurance policy renews in April. With those shingles, and the normal 10% increase in property coverage, our new policy was $503.00 lower!!! Plus, State Farm went back to October, when the new shingles were installed , and gave us over $100 back for the months between October and April!! That $500 savings is every year.

    When the roofing bid was written, Armor Shield II cost $201.00 a square, installed with #30 felt and painted dripedge. To prevent leaks, there's a new product called "Ice and Water Shield" is about 3' wide and very sticky on one side also written in. All places where vents, chimney, valleys, and transitions between roofs, like to the lower pitch/angled patio roof, this material is put down first, the valley metal, tar paper, and shingles added on top.

    Roofing Companies

    At the time I was getting roofing company bids, I looked for a good price, good referrals if I needed to see their work, checked that the company was bonded, and that workers were insured so any injuries on their job didn't use my insurance.

    Some roofers will give you a total amount with only the brand of shingle, and the cost for "tear-off" of the old shingles. To save them time and money, some will want you to "just leave" the old dripedge using the excuse: "so it matches"..... Get a written bid that has all the materials itemized...If there are items covered in "conversation", be sure they are now written down, WRITE THEM in with your initials, or request a new contract with the changes. By taking a day or two off work, the day they roof, you can be there to check those material numbers against what is actually delivered and any bundles left over that are returned, so they credit your contract price. I had two disposible cameras and took pictures of their work. On the storage cabin, they SKIPPED putting in new metal at the seams where the two second story dormers were. It leaked through the porch roof! The picture I took used the flash and showed it was getting so dark the Moon showed up like a spotlight when they were working in that area.

    Even the company I went with, I caught them over-bidding the shingles for both the home and shed roofs by 13 squares.... That's $2,600 of OVERCHARGE. So, double check the number of shingle squares they say are needed as well as be there when they work to see they don't try to substitute #15 felt for the #30 you are paying for... Air nailers are usually used, but the crew will use any length of nail they have. Our old roof was put on when we were at work and only this year I found that in some sections of the roof, they used shorter than 1-1/4" long nails; some were only 3/4" long. Only because of ELK shingle's special high wind bonding did the South side's roof stayed down and dry....

    No matter what the roofing guy says....No matter how friendly he appears to be... No matter how he promises to come back to finish those little things.... DON'T PAY THEM UNTIL YOU HAVE ALL THE WORK COMPLETE AND YOU ARE HAPPY WITH IT!!! Money is why they are there and THE only thing that will get them back if there is a problem. Any paper warranty is only as good as the honesty of the company or in a court of law....

    Also, I found that the roofing company would take Credit Card that has a "REWARDS" program... Already having the insurance money in the bank, I could pay it over several billing cycles and get the reward points.... ;>) Plus, "IF" there was a problem, the credit card company could be filed on to dispute the charges, so I could get them to fix anything..... The points added up for one $500 Sears' gift card and with enough left over to be added to our old reward balance to get another $500 gift card and a third one for $120 gift card.... We've used one on a "Friends and Family 20% Off sale", plus you can almost always find items with even lower clearance and closeout prices to stretch them even more...:>)

    Whew!! Maybe this will help and maybe you'll get enough back by doing some things yourself to increase you solar array.

    Good luck,

    Bill
    Bill
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    good post bill.:D
  • jcgee88jcgee88 Solar Expert Posts: 154 ✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    Bill,

    Thank you for your well thought out and informative post! I thought I would
    comment back on some specific items.

    John
    ...let me show you what I did when 30 solid minutes of
    golf ball size hail hit back in April of 2008...

    Our hail was bigger than golf ball size, but it only lasted about 10 minutes.
    ...I found a hail resistant shingle that qualifies for Homeowner's discounts
    like a metal roof, but if it hails really, really bad to actually damage it, it would be
    considered replaceable. It is made by GAF/ELK and called "Armor Shield II". ...When the
    roofing bid was written, Armor Shield II cost $201.00 a square, installed with #30 felt and
    painted dripedge...

    I am actually considering "solar reflective" roofing shingles. The leading brand
    for these appears to be Certainteed, with their "Landmark Solaris" product.
    A standard black shingle reflects 3% of the sunlight, while Certainteed's
    Solaris shingles reflect 40%. They are supposed to keep your roof 20%
    cooler. I'm wondering if some of the reflected energy might also increase
    my harvest? I got a consumer quote on these, and they run $184/square.
    ...To prevent leaks, there's a new product called "Ice and Water Shield"
    is about 3' wide and very sticky on one side also written in. All places where vents,
    chimney, valleys, and transitions between roofs, like to the lower pitch/angled patio roof,
    this material is put down first, the valley metal, tar paper, and shingles added on top...

    I've never heard of this material, but now I will certainly look into it!
    Roofing Companies...At the time I was getting roofing company bids, I looked
    for a good price, good referrals if I needed to see their work, checked that the company
    was bonded, and that workers were insured so any injuries on their job didn't use my insurance...

    I won't (or shouldn't) have the usual chore of picking a company out of a bunch.
    I'm 99% sure I will go with the guy who did my last roof, which was replaced after
    a hail storm in 2002. His small company is actually a general contractor, they build
    entire houses, and he's done three major re-modeling projects at my home already.
    Maybe this will help and maybe you'll get enough back by doing some things
    yourself to increase you solar array.

    I can't wait until my panels are repaired! I am missing some incredible solar days
    right now.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,180 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    ''Ice and water shield'' can also be called 'peel and stick', but do know that there are a lot of 'peel and stick' products out there and not all equal or meant for use in freezing climates.
    They also have differing application temperatures. Too cold, and it wont stick...at all!
    Ask lots of questions...

    hth
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    #30 paper is probably fine to use, but will be nailed. sticking ice and water shield isn't that important to avoid holes by nails as the roof itself will be nailed anyway.
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    JCgee88, be aware that some of the certainteed shingles had a class action suit because of thier shortlife span. I had a friend that only got about 5 years out of thier 25 year shingles. :Dsolarvic:D
  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    I am a big fan of WR Grace ice and water shield and so are most of the architects who spec out roofs in my area (way up north). I covered the entire south face of my house with it in place of 30# felt. Once its down it can not come off. I helped remove a 2 year old roof on a 12 12 pitch home, we went in the night before and uses wrecking bars to pop the plywood off the rafters from the inside and left it supported at the ridge, when we removed the nails at the ridge, the roof stayed in place until we cut though the ice and water shield at the ridge and then the whole roof came down in one piece, it snapped some plywood in half but every bit of water shield was still stuck at the joints. With that stuff down as long as the sun doesnt get to it directly, the shingles are just there to protect the ice and water shield.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    that could be a problem when replacing a roof then after xx years if it doesn't want to come off. it will still have holes driven into it by the nails for the roofing itself so one can't say it will be any more advantageous than the felt imo.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    Actually that stuff seals up like you wouldn't believe. If your local code allows two shingle depths and you use 50 year shingles, there's 100 years of roof right there. The shingles could be stripped off, the ice barrier reused (the old nail holes really do reseal), and then you've got another 100 years. Chances are by then you'd need a lot more than just shingles. Probably could cover over with another layer of ice shield, and go through the process again. Most likely the plywood underneath would suffer from too many nail holes before the ice shield did.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    hmm. it's that good eh? i may have to investigate this product for my own roof as i still didn't get a new one yet.:cry:
  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    Sorry for the thread hijack, but its is that good. Roofers dont like it as its more expensive than 30# felt. It does reseal nail holes nicely and I have accidently slashed it in the past with a knife and it sealed right up. One "con" is that some other companies sell "ice and water" shield that is sort of self stick roofing felt with some grit on it. So when the home owner asks for "ice and water shield" the roofer gets the low grade stuff and the homeowner is none the wiser. Many of the more reputable standing seam metal roof vendors require the WR Grace Ice and water shield to be installed under the standing seam in order to guarantee the installation.

    One caveat is that if you do it yourself, it has a bit of a learning curve, especially on a breezy day. Just imagine a 40 foot long of flypaper swinging in the breeze that you are attempting to put down in straight strip. In cold conditions it does not really stick down well, but with a hair dryer it can be sealed up until it warms up.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    i had a picture in my mind on the 40ft long flypaper flapping in the breeze. i won't be doing my roof myself, but if i did i suspect i would be the fly caught in it.:cry::p
  • BilljustBillBilljustBill Solar Expert Posts: 212 ✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm
    Actually that stuff seals up like you wouldn't believe. If your local code allows two shingle depths and you use 50 year shingles, there's 100 years of roof right there. The shingles could be stripped off, the ice barrier reused (the old nail holes really do reseal), and then you've got another 100 years. Chances are by then you'd need a lot more than just shingles. Probably could cover over with another layer of ice shield, and go through the process again. Most likely the plywood underneath would suffer from too many nail holes before the ice shield did.

    Good to hear from you, Cariboocoot. The "Ice and Water" material was first designed to be place from the bottom edge of the roof and applied back up the roof angle so if you had ice or snow to melt and form a dam, the thawing water from the melting ice/snow wouldn't seep under the shingles, through the nail holes in the tar paper, and leak into the house or overhang. We don't have that problem where I am, but I had the company use it around the step flashing of the chimney, around every roof opening like vent fan vents and the gas furnace and hot water heater, and under all the roof valleys.

    Down here in Texas, the insurance companies do not like roofing over an old roof.

    It doubles the deadweight on the roof, and shingles with 30 year or 50 year warrantee may be significantly heavier from the start. Roof and rafters on homes in the older part of town or out in the country were built from an old carpenter's experience rather than from factory certified truss work. Who knows what actual weight they will support, not to mention adding solar panels in the coming days...

    Another reason is because of the dense double thickness. When a house fire happens, the fire can't burn through the double roof as fast which causes the heat and smoke to be contained within the entire house causing much more interior damage.

    Bill
    Bill
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    Yes, Bill; I don't imagine you have to structure for snow load down there like we do up here. :D

    Still, I have seen roofs that were unsuitable even in these climes. 3/8" OSB on 2x4 rafters 24" on center! What is that supposed to hold up, eh? :confused:

    Firemen might have a bit of difficulty getting through the ice shield with an axe or even a saw.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    "Firemen might have a bit of difficulty getting through the ice shield with an axe or even a saw."

    that may be a good point as something that self seals that well may pose a problem to saws and other tools.

    i have to add that when i talked to one roofer he said that when a second layer of shingles is added on top of the first that the first layer tends to speed up the deforming of the second newer layer with unevenness and increased heat absorption from the first layer.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm
    niel wrote: »
    "Firemen might have a bit of difficulty getting through the ice shield with an axe or even a saw."

    that may be a good point as something that self seals that well may pose a problem to saws and other tools.

    i have to add that when i talked to one roofer he said that when a second layer of shingles is added on top of the first that the first layer tends to speed up the deforming of the second newer layer with unevenness and increased heat absorption from the first layer.

    That's true, Niel. Which is why it usually isn't done (and probably not allowed in some areas) with "architectural" shingles. Some advise against doing a second layer if the first is too far deteriorated too, as they expect it will get worse and exaggerate that same problem. Other places allow three layers no matter what before strip-off.

    So the caveat is: always check with your local building authority to see what is required/allowed where you are.
  • jcgee88jcgee88 Solar Expert Posts: 154 ✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    Good news, State Farm covered the entire cost of the repair.
    The repair includes: acquiring replacement panels, de-installing
    the entire array to allow a new roof to be laid, and then
    re-installing everything. My original installer, StraightUp Solar,
    of St Louis, MO, will be doing the solar repair.

    On a related topic, after I installed these in Summer 2010, I
    did notify State Farm of the installation, and per their recommendation,
    I did increase the nominal home value of my replacement cost
    policy. This is why I wasn't overly concerned about whether
    there was even a question about them covering the loss.

    The other good news is that the undamaged panels continue to
    work flawlessly. Incredibly, even the damaged panels are still
    putting out a smidgeon. [Click the link in my signature to see
    current output.]

    John
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar panel damage from hail storm

    I had some hail damage a while back. Did they nick you for the deductible? My insurance company called it an act of God and waived the deductible.
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