Categorized | Uncategorized

Can Solar Panels Withstand Category 5 Hurricane?

Can Solar Panels Withstand Category 5 Hurricane?

The question comes up every now and again about how Solar Panels hold up in a Hurricane.

The short answer is, it depends. There is a lot of discussion about how NJ residents with roof top solar panels did very well during Hurricane Sandy. That was a Category 1 Hurricane however when it reached landfall and quickly downgraded to tropical force winds. You will find that in New Jersey the solar panels held up great.

However, what about Cabo San Lucas, Florida, the Antilles Islands who are prone to Category 5 Hurricanes with sustained winds of 165+ mph?

Research on solar panels results in the actual glass panels can withstand a great amount of external forces. Each manufacturer is a little different and it is important to ask for their specifications if you live in an area prone to powerful Hurricanes. Now, the panel itself itself is important, but what is equally important are the connections of the solar panels to your roof.

Typically, rails are attached to the roof via lag screws, and the panels are attached to the rails. Both of these connections must resist the uplift which is created in hurricane force winds.

An engineer will provide calculations on this uplift, which will determine the type of rail to be used, the spacing of the lag screw connections and the size of the lag screw. It may very well require spacing less then the spacing of your roof rafters or trusses. In that case, blocking is needed between the roof members. It is important the blocking is attached adequately to the rafters or trusses as they all transfer these uplift forces.

Ask the engineer what the required design wind speed in your area is. Here is something interesting as well. Many engineers simply use the uplift formula which is the slope of the roof, and the wind speed that travels over the roof. Solar panels create an additional force due to the fact wind gets trapped underneath the panel. If you live in Naples, FL, and want solar panels, work with the engineer. A safe bet would be to ask the engineer what spacing the connections of the rails require per the building code, and decrease that spacing by 20%. That should give you peace of mind that solar panels are on your roof AFTER a hurricane hits.

Now if your panels work when the grid is off, that raises a whole new set of questions. Ideally, solar panel owners should have the option to switch off the grid and run solely off a backup battery. This is something very worth asking your installer about. If you are tied into a grid that won’t allow you to create electricity from your solar panels, well, you are in the same boat everyone else is without electricity.

Comments are closed.

How Many Solar Hours Are In Your Area?

Find Solar Potential in Your Location

Want to Learn More?

For more information, fill out the form below and a qualified solar panel installer will contact you.
First Name:
Last Name:
Email:
Phone:

Find A Local Solar Installer

Fill in your zip code to find installers serving your area or browse alphabetically
Zip Code:

RSS Solar Energy News

  • Energy storage in New York: If it can make it here, it can make it anywhere March 27, 2020
    As COVID-19 wreaks havoc in our collective world and we socially isolate to flatten the curve, “everything works – and will continue to work – as long as we have electricity. It’s what keeps the lights on, the oxygen flowing, the information going. Everything is the grid, the grid, the grid,” said Peggy Noonan in... The post Energy storage in New York: If it […]
  • Registering early for HYDROVISION International 2020 is a no-lose proposition March 27, 2020
    By Elizabeth Ingram The early bird registration deadline for HYDROVISION International 2020 is fast approaching, and we have a no-lose proposition to make it easier for people to make plans during these challenging times: In this unprecedented situation, we recognize that making a commitment, especially a financial commitment to attend this upcoming event, i […]
  • Live webinar series – COVID-19: Utility Crisis Management March 27, 2020
    Webinar broadcast series Asia – 6 April 2020 06h00 GMT | 14h00 (UTC+8)Europe – 7 April 2020 13h00 GMT | 14h00 (CET)USA – 8 April 2020 15h00 GMT | 11h00 (UTC+4)Africa – 9 April 2020 12h00 GMT | 14h00 (UTC+2) The utility industry has been tested in unprecedented ways by COVID-19. Utilities in the power... The post Live webinar series – COVID-19: Utility Crisis […]
  • Renewables remained resilient during China’s COVID-19 lockdown March 27, 2020
    The first nation to implement a COVID-19 lockdown, China, has experienced an unprecedented power demand drop during the first two months of the year as a result of the stagnation of industrial and commercial activities. Amidst this demand squeeze, renewables have emerged as a winner in the increasing competition among different power generation resources. El […]
  • Three reasons why dual participation market model at NYISO is best for energy storage March 26, 2020
    New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) received FERC approval for its dual participation model. Dual participation refers to resources that participate in both wholesale and retail markets. This model has positive benefits for distributed energy resources, including aggregated energy storage. NYISO’s model leverages existing bid rules within energy, ca […]
  • Minnesota solar industry says pandemic increases pressure for legislation March 26, 2020
    An industry group had already been pushing for an extension of a popular solar incentive program set to end in 2021. Faced with a potential economic catastrophe from the coronavirus pandemic, Minnesota’s solar industry wants lawmakers to increase the budget for a solar program funded by Xcel Energy. The money would come from the Xcel... The post Minnesota so […]