Can Solar Panels Withstand Storms?

Effectiveness of solar panels in winters

Can Solar Panels Withstand Storms?

In case you are weighing about going solar or have already installed, you may be wondering how solar panels would operate in hurricane conditions. Particularly if you live in a region vulnerable to storm and hailstorms.

Disclaimer: Solar photovoltaic panels are much tougher than you may use to believe.

Statistics of Americas most crippling storms in recent history establishes this point very loudly.

New Jersey has one of the largest clusters of single-family residences with solar photovoltaic panels in the USA. When Hurricane Sandy barreled toward the Jersey Shore in 2012, thousands of solar photovoltaic consumers in the area feared for the worst.

Despite NJ saw the devastation on an unprecedented scale, most of the state’s solar photovoltaic panels remained intact baring few small low-quality solar panels sustained damage.

All good quality solar panels (That Nu Solar Power works with) withstood the havoc, Hurricane Maria, in 2017 created in Puerto Rico. The massive hurricane struck into the island with gusts exceeding 150 miles per hour.

But post-Hurricane Maria, a veterans affair (VA) hospital with a massive 645-kW solar photovoltaic system remained operational at almost the maximum capability– in San Juan, one of the most massively affected areas.

Winds, rain and hail are mostly the biggest cause of distress when it comes to impairment during a hurricane. Let’s take a deeper look into these three weather conditions to see how each one affects solar photovoltaic panels.

Effect of Rain on Solar Photovoltaic Panels?

In case of storms, it’s obvious to worry about rain and flooding. But since solar photovoltaic panels are waterproof, they tend to continue generating energy when it rains.

Solar photovoltaic panels change both direct and indirect solar energy into power. It is accurate that they’re more effective when they receive direct sunlight, but they can yet produce up to 25% of their best possible capacity on cloudy or rainy days.

What is even more amazing that rain is actually good for solar photovoltaic panels. It’s not unusual for them to operate more efficiently after a storm because the rainwater flushes away dust, dirt, pollen and other airborne elements that can build up on the solar photovoltaic panels over time.

Effect of Wind on Solar Photovoltaic Panels?

The wind is another component that may be a contributing factor during a hurricane. High wind’s gusts from all directions can wreak damage on even the most well-constructed homes. Since solar photovoltaic panels are positioned slightly above the surface of the roof, fear of uplifting can be a cause of apprehension.

Uplift can occur when gust forces its way between the roof of your residence/commercial property and the solar photovoltaic panels, causing the solar photovoltaic panels to lift up or come loose. But, commonly, with proper installation of quality solar photovoltaic panels and racking, you would not have to worry about uplifting baring the extraordinarily extreme weather.

Reputable manufacturers like LG, Panasonic, Solaria, REC, Aptos, Silfab etc. put their solar photovoltaic panels through exhaustive examination to ensure they’re built to withstand uplift. In addition, good quality racking and properly installed solar photovoltaic panels, in most cases, account for gust patterns to make sure your solar photovoltaic panels are well secured on your residence and that all wires are safely stowed.

If you are in an area prone to high gusts, we at Nu Solar will make informed recommendations based on our experience. And probably your roof will go before you lose your panels.

Effect of Hail on Solar Photovoltaic Panels?

Have you ever noticed that a car out in a hailstorm can have more dimples than a golf ball?

You obviously know the damage these little pieces of ice falling from the heavens can cause. But, fortunately, when it comes to hail, most top-notch solar photovoltaic panels that we use at Nu Solar power are certified to withstand one-inch of hail falling at 50 miles per hour.

Whenever damage from hail occurs, it’s usually caused by concentrated impact in small areas. And it’s a rare phenomenon, a point well illustrated by recent severe hails in Denver.

In May of the year 2017, Denver was pelted with a baseball-sized hail that injured many. The hailstorm allowed the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) located in the Mile-High City with the perfect chance to test the quality and the durability of the more than 3,100 solar panels on its rooftops.

Despite the size and force of the hailstorm that hammered down on the lab, only two solar photovoltaic panels were damaged, a true testament to the fact that modern solar photovoltaic panels are built to last a lifetime.

What to do before a Hurricane

Many property owners take pictures of their valued and other treasured possession as proof of the condition of these commodities, should they need to file a claim with their insurance provider for future damage to them. This is also an excellent strategy for your solar photovoltaic panels.

We recommend you take pictures of your solar photovoltaic panels before a storm or a hurricane and store hard copies of the photos with your insurance policies and other important documents. It’s also a great idea to keep digital copies of the pictures as well, in case you need them as a backup for your hard copies.

The good news for Nu Solar power customers is that you’re covered by our 25-year material™ warranty – it covers the equipment and labor to repair the system due to damage, theft and loss, including damage from a hurricane. You can find all our warranty information in your NuSolar Power agreement.

Last but not least, you should contact your homeowner’s insurance company for relevant information about their coverage for wind and storm damage to your property. Make sure you do this before any incident, so you’re prepared well before a hurricane or hailstorm occurs.

 What to do after a Hurricane

After the hurricane or hailstorm has passed, evaluate any damage to your solar photovoltaic panels.

You should never attempt to repair or inspect impaired solar photovoltaic panels yourself. Do not get on your roof, it’s not safe and it could even pose a danger to your home. You should also be cautious not to touch any loose, damaged or displaced panels or electric wires, as they could be still be operating and producing power.

Instead, take pictures of any sustained damage from a safe distance and notify Nu Solar power. We can instruct you on proper protocols and send someone out to inspect your solar panels if necessary. Just contact us and we will take care of your solar panels right away.

Preparation is a Key

Your best defense for protecting your solar photovoltaic panels in a hurricane or hailstorm is to be ready ahead of time. Following the tips explained above can give you peace of mind, or a sense of direction, regardless of what Nature brings your way. 

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