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:

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

  • A bottle of liquid sunshine: California craft brewery installs 2.1-MW solar array January 15, 2021
    Duke Energy and Firestone Walker Brewing Company have completed a 2.1-megawatt (MW) solar array and 281-kilowatt (kW) solar carport on 9.7 acres in Paso Robles, Calif. The arrays will generate the majority of the brewery’s energy, which is enough to brew and bottle 6 million cases of beer annually. The on-site solar, single-axis trackers and... The post A bo […]
  • Renewables Forward launches diversity, equity, and inclusion human resources playbook January 15, 2021
    Industrywide initiative gains momentum by publishing new HR playbook outlining actionable steps and best practices. Renewables Forward, a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiative of leading U.S. renewable and clean energy companies, today announced the release of a new diversity human resources (HR) playbook. The group has doubled in membership to 2 […]
  • The first rule of connecting DERs: Keep it simple January 15, 2021
    When I founded my distributed energy company a decade ago, the idea of 100% renewable energy was still on the fringe. Now, innovative utilities are setting 100% clean energy goals and working to integrate distributed energy resources (DERs) with homes; millions of people have installed rooftop solar; Tesla is a $500 billion-dollar company; and home... The po […]
  • Coronavirus crushed U.S. clean energy workforce in 2020; 400K-plus jobs still lost January 15, 2021
    The COVID-19 pandemic has not only devastated the U.S. health care system, but it’s taken a long-lasting direct hit on the nation’s once healthy clean energy industry. A new report by BW Research Partnership indicates that the 2020 clean energy workforce dropped to its lowest numbers in five years. More than 429,000 workers (or 12... The post Coronavirus cru […]
  • CAI, Rye Development to partner on construction of 22 hydroelectric projects in U.S. January 14, 2021
    Climate Adaptive Infrastructure, LLC (CAI) announced it is funding the construction of 22 hydroelectric projects (to be developed under the name Rye Hydro) at existing non-powered dams (NPDs) in the eastern U.S., alongside Rye Development LLC. CAI is an infrastructure investment firm specializing in low-carbon real assets in the energy, water and transport s […]
  • Aggregate fossil fuel demand could peak as early as 2027 according to McKinsey January 14, 2021
    COVID-19 and electrification hasten peak demand for hydrocarbons Aggregate fossil fuel demand is set to peak in 2027 – with oil peaking in 2029 and gas in 2037 – partially due to the impacts of COVID-19, according to new research by global consultancy, McKinsey & Company.  The Global Energy Perspective 2021 report finds that while coal demand... The post […]