Your Complete Guide: Solar Panels vs. Florida Storms

August 10, 2023

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Florida residents often ask, are solar panels hurricane proof? After all, you don’t want to invest in solar panels only to have them broken or blown away during the state’s next storm! Even category one storms can damage roofs and other surfaces, so it’s only natural for residents to wonder about solar panels.

Manufacturers design solar panels to withstand high wind, rain, and other inclement weather. Also, a panel’s specific design, installation, and intensity of the hurricane affect how well it withstands the storm. In most cases, solar panels can withstand even the strongest hurricane winds.

The question, are solar panels hurricane proof, depends on several factors. Also, remember that solar panels themselves might not blow away in a storm. However, falling debris can risk damage to their surfaces and components.

With this in mind, keep reading to find out more about the durability of solar panels in hurricane-prone areas. Also, never hesitate to contact a solar installation contractor near you if needed. They can explain solar panels in more detail and recommend a system for your property.

are solar panels hurricane proof

FAQ: Are Solar Panels Hurricane Proof?

To understand what you might expect with solar panels in a hurricane, check out some frequently asked questions on this subject. You can then decide if solar is right for you, even in hurricane-prone Florida!

Can a hurricane damage solar panels?

High-quality solar panels are manufactured to meet international standards for durability and resistance to weather conditions. In areas prone to hurricanes, look for solar panels that have been tested and certified to meet industry standards.

Also, solar installation plays a significant role in their ability to withstand extreme weather. Properly secured panels with robust mounting systems are more likely to survive hurricane-force winds.

Moreover, in hurricane-prone areas, additional reinforcement and bracing might be necessary to secure solar panels. Professional installers can recommend the appropriate measures to enhance the panels' resistance to strong winds.

Additionally, solar panels have wind ratings based on their ability to withstand specific wind speeds. These ratings provide an indication of how well the panels can handle strong winds. It's important to choose panels that have a wind rating suitable for hurricane winds.

Can wind rip solar panels off a roof?

During hurricane season, it’s not unusual for property owners to worry about wind ripping solar panels off a roof. There is no “one size fits all” answer about solar panel durability in high winds. Strong winds, especially during severe weather events like hurricanes or tornadoes, can sometimes rip solar panels off a roof.

This risk is increased if panels are not properly secured. The force of the wind can create significant uplift pressure and shear forces. These exert a tremendous strain on the mounting system and the attachment points of the panels. In extreme cases, these can get pulled off the roof.

To reduce this risk, ensure your contractor uses a mounting system specifically engineered to withstand high winds. The system should be securely fastened to the roof structure using lag bolts or other approved fasteners.

What happens when it rains on solar panels?

In most cases, rain has little to no impact on solar panels. In fact, rainwater can clean solar panels, washing away dust, dirt, pollen, and other debris. This might temporarily improve the efficiency of the panels by allowing more sunlight to reach the solar cells.

During light rain or a drizzle, the water droplets can scatter sunlight. This can lead to a slight reduction in solar panel efficiency. However, this is usually temporary and minimal. Also, rainwater doesn’t typically pose a significant risk of causing electrical problems. Solar wiring is usually protected with conduit during the installation process.

a contractor installing florida solar

Do solar panels protect your roof during a hurricane?

Solar panels can provide some protection to your roof during a hurricane. However, the extent of protection depends on several factors. These include the design of the solar panel system, quality of installation, and the severity of the hurricane. Here's how solar panels can offer some roof protection:

  • Properly installed solar panels are mounted securely to the roof with strong mounting systems and fasteners. This added layer can help distribute wind forces more evenly across the roof's surface. In turn, they might reduce the risk of localized damage.
  • Solar panels can act as a barrier and shield against flying debris during a hurricane. This can reduce the likelihood of debris directly hitting and damaging the roof.
  • The additional weight of solar panels can add a small amount of mass to the roof. This added mass can provide some additional stability during strong winds. However, this is generally minimal and shouldn’t be considered a replacement for other roof reinforcement methods.
  • Solar panels may offer localized protection to the areas of the roof directly beneath them, helping to shield those areas from direct wind and rain exposure.

What happens to solar in a hurricane?

During a hurricane, solar panels can be affected in a variety of ways. Here's what can happen to solar panels during a hurricane:

  • High-speed winds associated with hurricanes can potentially damage solar panels. If panels are not securely mounted and anchored, they can be ripped off the roof. Proper installation with a robust mounting system can help mitigate this risk.
  • Flying debris, such as branches, roof tiles, or other objects, can hit and damage solar panels. In severe cases, debris impact can still lead to cracks or other damage.
  • High-speed winds can create an uplift pressure beneath the solar panels. This can potentially lift the panels off the roof. This risk is increased if panels are not properly anchored, or their mounting system cannot withstand hurricane forces.
  • Rain and flooding associated with hurricanes can affect the electrical components of solar systems. While solar panels are designed to withstand exposure to water, flooding could lead to damage if water infiltrates the wiring or connections.

solar panels on a residential home

What to Do With Solar Panels During a Hurricane?

Now that you know how solar panels respond to hurricane weather, you might consider what to do with those panels during hurricane season. Taking appropriate precautions with your solar panels can minimize damage and ensure safety. Here's what you can do to prepare your solar panels before and during a hurricane:

  • Before the hurricane arrives, if you have grid-tied solar panels, consider disconnecting your solar power system from the grid. This prevents electrical back-feeding into the grid, which could pose a safety risk to utility workers during power outages.
  • Inspect your solar panels and system components for any loose or dangling items that could become projectiles in strong winds. Secure any loose cables, equipment, or other materials to prevent them from being blown away or causing damage.
  • Turn off your solar panel system's inverters before the hurricane hits. Inverters are sensitive electronic devices. Shutting them down can help prevent damage due to power surges or other electrical issues during the storm.
  • If you have time and the necessary tools, consider reinforcing the mounting systems of your solar panels. This can help prevent wind damage. Secure any loose or weak components to ensure that the panels are less likely to be torn off by strong gusts.

Go Solar Florida State is happy to explain, are solar panels hurricane proof? Hopefully we’ve explained the issue clearly! Also, if you’re in the state, call our Florida solar panel installation contractors for your FREE quote. We offer quality installations and expert services you can trust.


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