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How Do Solar Panels Hold Up In A Hurricane?

Hurricanes are a constant worry, especially in the state of Florida. Have you considered investing in a solar energy system for your home or business but been concerned about extreme weather conditions? While it may seem like an issue, it’s actually a lot less of a concern than you may think.
Solar panel systems undergo a lot of testing and new developments over the past few years have made them both more efficient and durable, able to withstand weather conditions such as hurricanes.
With storms such as Superstorm Sandy and Irma we have been able to gather data on the practicality of utilizing solar panel systems to generate electricity for your home, business, or even entire cities even when the electrical grid is off-line.

Testing And Real World Performance

Aside from flooding, most of the severe damage caused by hurricanes is caused by high wings that come along with the storm. During these storms the wind can rapidly change both direction and speed.
When it comes to high winds a reasonable concern is having a large amount of solar panels on roofs; these panels sit slightly above the surface of the roof which can cause an issue known as uplift. Uplift is a force caused by wind that comes between two objects, such as the roof and the solar panels.
Solar experts ensure that solar panel systems are specifically designed to withstand the forces that create uplift by fastening the panels to the roof beams with lag bolts. With a properly built roof that is well-maintained, there is very little chance of solar panels coming off of the roof due wind that causes extreme uplift.
To put your mind at ease even further, testing by solar panel manufacturers includes a certification that each panel can withstand forces of wind up to 140+ mile-per-hour which is the equivalent of a Cat 4 hurricane (the average wind speed of a Cat 4 is between 130mph to 156mph). By observing the data collected from Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Michael, and Hurricane Irma, we can see that nearly all of the solar panels in the areas affected survived with few individual panels being damaged.
In cases where homeowners had installed an individual inverter, power going to the home was restored completely the second they plugged it in. In at least one municipality solar panel systems powered traffic lights for all major thoroughfares until traditional power to the city was restored.

Continuing Measures To Improve Durability And Quality Assurance

Over the past few years certain states and municipalities have created standards for solar panel installations. Most cities in Florida have set requirements for them to withstand winds of at least 160mph.
Over the past few years certain states and municipalities have created standards for solar panel installations. Most cities in Florida have set requirements for them to withstand winds of at least 160mph.
Even without standards being set, vendors strive to develop solar panel systems that can withstand higher winds and damage seen in Florida. PVQAT focuses on creating solar energy tech standards and a rating system for photovoltaic modules based on things like climate and application, general guidelines and quality assurance for inspections in factories, and PV certification for systems.
The Durable Module Materials Consortium (DuraMAT), a group of universities and research labs, work together to improve solar energy designs and materials. They are a part of a Department of Energy program working to reduce time-to-market for clean energy materials known as the Energy Materials Network.
Solar panels have gone through rigorous factory testing and have survived in some of the worst storms in the US over the past five years. If solar panel systems have survived through the latest extreme weather conditions and still function then there is very little for you to worry about when it comes to hurricanes.

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If you are interested in learning more about the positive benefits of solar power for your business please click here to request your free consultation. Our team of solar experts have been serving the local community for over a decade and are ready to help you take the first step into the future of solar energy.

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