Hail is the enemy of solar panels. It cannot be prevented, but its impact on performance can be mitigated. KISTERS, an environmental data organization founded in Germany, launched HailSens360, an early warning and hail monitoring system to help solar O&M teams do just that.
KISTERS says HailSens360 synthesizes forecast data (18 hours ahead), nowcast data (60-90 minutes ahead with updates every 6 mins) along with meticulous post-event analysis detailing the full scope of a hail event, through a combo of software and sensors.
These crucial pre- and post-event insights provide invaluable decision support in high stakes/severe hail scenarios where knowledge is power, timing is everything and data drives decisions.
“We wanted to create a solution that enables solar developers to protect their assets from hail damage ahead of a hail event but to do that, we needed to build a system that allows us to better predict, precisely quantify and validate hail, then aggregate all of that information into one cloud solution for better visibility,” said Johan Jaques, KISTERS Chief Meteorologist and HailSens360 solution owner.
Every year massive hailstorms cause hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of damage, such as the hailstorm that hit a West Texas solar farm sending shockwaves through both the solar and insurance industries. This watershed event along with other severe hail events has led to a heightened interest and urgency in the development of new hail prediction, quantification, and post event analysis technologies.
HailSens360 enhances the level of detail and precision measured in real-time by the hail sensor. It can provide detailed analysis of potential microcracks, which if left unattended, can lead to a host of performance issues.
If equipped on solar trackers, the service could alert solar farm managers to stow solar assets in a safe position ahead of severe hail. It provides a more vivid picture of hail impacts in terms of hailstone size, velocity, and distribution.
— Solar Builder magazine