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Analyzing Hail Impacts on PV Modules Using Computational Simulation

DuraMAT seeks to capture hail impact events using validated computational simulation models for rigorous quantification of the mechanisms leading to photovoltaic (PV) module damage and the design parameters affecting robustness.

Technical tasks include:

  • Characterizing a hail ice material model
  • Updating module simulation models to accept hail ice impact inputs
  • Validating simulations against high-speed video of hail impacts using 3D digital image correlation
  • Conducting both simulated and experimental parametric studies to identify factors correlated to module robustness.

Ultimately, information gained from this project may help to reduce the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) by providing a more precise understanding of hail damage mechanisms, allowing for cost-effective yet robust module designs, realistic qualification test sequences, and risk-informed deployment and insurance decisions.

Core Objective

Multi-Scale, Multi-Physics Modeling


Sandia National Laboratories


Fully understanding the factors affecting hail damage susceptibility enables cost-effective module design optimization, more representative qualification testing, and risk-informed deployment and insurance decisions.


Modeling methodologies and hail test data will be published to open literature. Simulation code is available to national lab consortia members via government-use license and industry or academic members with a collaborative project.


To learn more about this capability, contact James Hartley.

Image of a PV module showing hail damage
An illustration showing a yellow sphere, representing hail, impacting a 3D red square, representing a PV module.
A laboratory device scanning a PV module