Preventing hail damage: New LONGi Hi-MO Ice-Shield module adds extra armor

LONGi Hi-MO 5 Ice-Shield at CleanPower

Unveiled at CLEANPOWER 2024 in Minneapolis on May 7, LONGi’s newest product line, Hi-MO 5 Ice-Shield, is aimed at preventing severe impact damage caused during hail storms — events that cause the highest amount of damage to solar facilities, according to LONGi product solutions manager Alyssa Huang.

“Climate change has brought significant uncertainties to PV stations,” Huang said, referring to the increased number of hail storms occurring throughout the United States.

For the Hi-MO 5 Ice-Shield, LONGi took its popular Hi-MO 5 module and added a toughened safety glass technology that is capable of withstanding the impact from a piece of hail the size of a billiard ball traveling at 33.9 meters per second. In addition to protection from hail impact, the new module is resistant to high wind forces that typically accompany hail storms.

Confident in the reliability and durability of its new Ice-Shield module, LONGi is offering a 12-year product and 30-year power warranty. The Hi-MO 5 Ice-Shield is being rolled out for Q3 production and will be produced at the LONGi factory in Ohio.

Hi-MO 5 Ice-Shield details

Unlike standard bifacial dual-glass PV modules that typically use 2 mm of heat-strengthened front and rear glass, LONGi’s new Ice-Shield module leverages the same material that protects cell phone screens from breakage, with a 3.2 mm integrated top layer of tempered glass.

This new design enables the Ice-Shield module to withstand up to 55 mm hailstones (approximately the size of a billiard ball) striking at a speed of 33.9 meters per second, compared to a traditional dual-glass module that may fail after impact from greater than 25 mm to 35mm hailstones (approximately the size of a quarter to a half dollar) striking at a lower speed.

Additionally, in contrast to the IEC standard of a 25 mm hailstone at 23 meters per second, the Ice-Shield module can withstand up to approximately 17 times the impact energy. Not only do tests show the 55 mm hailstone disintegrating upon impact, according to the third-party testing results at TUV, the new Ice-Shield module showed no visual defect and almost no power degradation after impact.

“As the climate crisis causes more extreme weather patterns, like high winds and hail, we need innovation to help harden our critical infrastructure against these threats,” said Eric Luo, LONGi group VP and head of North America business center. “Over the past few years, we’ve seen how sensitive our energy grid and legacy power stations have been to extreme weather, and just recently we saw the substantial impact of hail on solar in Texas.”

With the panel frame as the main load-bearing component, the new Ice-Shied module is reinforced with 6005-T6 high-strength anodized aluminum alloy material that provides a yield strength of up to 3600Pa wind loads, which is equal to 171.33 mph winds, with mainstream trackers. This is crucial as hailstorms are often accompanied by winds at or even above 120 miles per hour (53.6 meters per second).

In addition to the module’s improved reliability, the new Ice-Shield module maintains the Hi-MO 5 module advantages of a 2.2% power generation increase and 0.9% BoS cost reduction compared to competitive bifacial transparent back sheet (TB) modules.

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