7 Steps: How to Protect Solar Panels in a Hurricane

May 26, 2023

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Every homeowner who's invested in solar panels should know how to prevent potential damage during hurricane season. Protecting your panels should definitely be a top priority for Florida homeowners prone to high winds and severe storms.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent damage and ensure your solar panels remain secure and functional after severe weather conditions have passed. One effective solution is to install a hurricane-rated mounting system that's built to withstand the high winds and powerful gusts that hurricanes can produce. Additionally, you can have your solar panels inspected and maintained regularly to identify any potential issues before they become major problems.

By taking the right precautions and working with experienced professionals for residential solar installation, you can rest easy knowing that your investment in solar technology is protected and will continue to benefit you for years to come.

Here are 7 steps to take to protect solar panels in a hurricane:

  1. Take pictures
  2. Clear overhanging tree branches
  3. Secure loose objects around your property
  4. Check connectors
  5. Inspect the roof’s plumbing
  6. Cover panels with a tarp
  7. Power down

Check out these steps in more detail so you know you’ve prepared your panels for rough weather. Also, don’t hesitate to talk to a solar panel near you as needed. Their expertise can protect your investment and ensure maximum solar power output from your panels.

how to protect solar panels in a hurricane

How to Protect Solar Panels in a Hurricane

Before going through these steps on your property, remember “safety first!” Use caution when it comes to climbing ladders and being on a roof. If needed, have a professional manage any of these steps for you before hurricane season arrives.

Take pictures of your panels

Homeowners often take pictures of their property before a stormy season, to make filing insurance claims easier. Do the same with your solar panels! Pictures help prove that they’re in good condition before a hurricane. Then, if you need to file a claim for repair costs, you’ll have those pictures available.

Clear overhanging tree branches

High winds are not the only threat to solar panels during hurricane season! Wind and rain often snap tree branches, risking solar panel damage. To avoid this risk, trim back overgrown or weak tree limbs around your property.

You might even perform this task regularly throughout the year. Trimming tree branches allows more sunlight to reach solar panels. It also means less dust and other debris falling onto those panels, allowing them to work more effectively.

Secure loose objects around your property

High winds can pick up loose items around your property and drop them right onto your solar panels! In turn, it’s vital that you secure patio furniture, barbecue equipment, and so on. Don’t assume that something is too heavy to get tossed around in a hurricane. Instead, play it safe and put away or tie down everything you can in your yard.

Check connectors

Before a hurricane arrives, check your solar racking system. Solar panels sit on this racking system, which bolts to a roof. If possible and safe for you, check those bolts for needed tightening. Homeowners might also check wiring and other components and see if they’re exposed or loose.

If you notice anything suspicious around your panels, call your installation contractor. They can tighten those bolts or otherwise secure the panels and their racking system. This reduces the risk of damage or of panels coming loose during a hurricane.

Inspect the roof’s plumbing

A roof’s plumbing refers to its flashing, gutters, and other pieces designed to capture and direct water off its surface. Since hurricanes mean heavy rain and wind, it’s vital that you inspect these features before the storms arrive. If safe to do so, check the roof’s flashing for bending or other damage.

Also, ensure your property has clean and clog-free gutters and downspouts. Remove any existing debris such as leaves and twigs. These simple steps keep rainwater from backing up onto the roof and causing water damage to solar panels.

Cover panels with a tarp

If there’s a hurricane headed your way, cover your property’s solar panels with a tarp. A tarp protects panels against cracking, scratching, and other damage. Note that they won’t trap sunlight when covered so remove the tarp as soon as possible after the hurricane passes.

Power down

If possible, disconnect your solar panels from the grid completely. Disconnecting them protects against sudden power surges and shorts. Also, disconnecting panels protects your property against electrical fires in case a hurricane damages those panels or their wiring.

installing solar panels

Can Solar Panels Survive a Hurricane?

The good news is that manufacturers purposely make solar panels tough and durable and able to withstand severe weather. This includes hurricanes, hailstorms, rain, and more. Most solar panels can tolerate winds up to 140 mph, or a category 4 hurricane.

However, this doesn’t mean that solar panel owners should neglect these preventative steps. A few minutes preparing those panels and your property reduces the risk of damage and ensures they stay operational. You can also assure your insurance company that you did everything possible to protect them if they should suffer damage!

Go Solar Florida State is happy to help explain how to protect solar panels in a hurricane. Hopefully, you found this information useful. Also, if you haven’t yet invested in solar, call our Florida solar panel installation contractors. We’ll prepare a comprehensive quote tailored to your property and needs. Additionally, we’re happy to explain solar power in detail. To find out how much you can save with a solar investment, contact us today!


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