For many potential solar customers living in coastal areas and islands of the United States, the issue of solar panels durability during natural disasters is a matter of course.
You should investigate whether such a large investment is worthwhile in extreme weather. With improvements in craftsmanship and materials, solar panels are better able to withstand extreme weather, including hail, sleet, snow, rain—yes—hurricanes.
Solar panels can survive extreme winds, but debris gets in the way
All solar panels, regardless of brand, style, shape or material, can withstand high winds to some extent. Generally speaking, most solar panels can withstand winds of up to 140 mph, which is about 2,400 Pascals (a unit of measure for a solar panel’s wind resistance). That’s enough to withstand hurricanes with wind speeds ranging from 130 to 130 to Category 4. 156 mph.
Because these solar pv panels are specifically designed to withstand the highest possible hurricane-strength winds. Also, they are raised so less debris affects the panels. Any ground-mounted solar pv panels or below-ground rooftop panels didn’t perform as well.
Solar pv panels are designed and manufactured from materials that can withstand more extreme conditions. So while the industry is not prepared for every weather scenario, we strive to be more resilient every year.
Rain washes away dirt to benefit solar panels
We’ve talked about wind speed, but what about water hitting solar panels at top speed? Solar panels are waterproof. They can withstand thunderstorms for many years.
In almost all cases, rain greatly benefits solar panels. Climbing onto the roof to wash off the dirt, grime, and pollen that has built up on the array isn’t easy (we don’t recommend this, by the way!).
These particles prevent sunlight from reaching the power-generating materials beneath the protective top layer. That’s why rainwater is so important: Regular showers clean the solar panels so they can run at maximum efficiency.
What should you do before a hurricane?
The reality is that many solar panel owners will inevitably face some kind of extreme weather conditions. We recommend that you take the following steps before any storm reaches your area:
Take a photo: You must capture the exact condition of the panel in case any damage occurs.
Lightning protection: Do you have a lightning protection system in your home? If installed incorrectly, a direct strike from lightning can damage solar panels and electrical equipment in your home.
Even for simple lightning rods or ground discharge paths that safely guide lightning, you may want to consider installing such protection before a hurricane hits.
Check the Warranty: If damage does occur, you should review your solar panel warranty coverage. Anything not covered by the storm system may need to be insured before it forms.
Check out your insurance policy: Speaking of insurance, if a hurricane is hitting your home, you should take this step no matter what. In addition to your solar panels, you’ll want to make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy covers other potential damages, such as flooding, roof leaks, and wind damage.
What should you do after a hurricane?
First, make sure you and your family are safe and sound. However, as far as the safety of your solar panels goes, do a visual inspection and make sure everything is in order.
Solar panels are built strong to withstand all kinds of weather conditions. In hurricane-prone areas, home solar arrays must meet requirements to survive at least 160-mph winds; solar installers use high-quality racking and roof attachments to meet these requirements.
If your solar panels are damaged by a storm, your homeowners’ insurance will likely cover the repairs; don’t go near them until an electrician checks them first. If you want to keep the lights on if the grid goes down, you’ll need to add a battery backup system.