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Can Solar Panels Withstand Hurricane Winds?

solar panel installation

Can Solar Panels Withstand Hurricane Winds?

Californians are well aware of the dangers that hurricanes can create and with less than 2-months left in this year’s hurricane season, you might be wondering how solar panels hold up against these storms. Plug It In Solar understands that with most equipment that stays outdoors 24 hours a day, 365 days a year the question comes to mind; how well will they survive in heavy rain and strong winds? In regards to this renewable energy technology, it seems that solar energy does fairly well.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) analyzed data from 50,000 solar energy systems which were installed between 2009 and 2013 and found that less than 1% were affected by storms. Furthermore, the reports found that 85% of all systems analyzed, they produced more than 90% of the electricity expected despite hurricanes, hail and shading. Most solar panels are expected to withstand up to 140 mile-per-hour (mph) winds and more depending on the racking and anchoring system used to keep this sustainable energy operational.

Hurricane Sandy (2012)

Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and destructive storms of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season wreaking havoc when it made landfall in Cuba as a category 3 hurricane.Sandy hit the state of New Jersey as a category 2 hurricane with speeds averaging 80-mph. Just before the storm the state had installed new panels. The only damage seen in the aftermath were few metal casings covering wires were damaged and two panels had come loose.

Hurricane Maria (2017)

Hurricane Maria was one of the strongest storms in the Atlantic over the last 100-years. Maria, which produced winds upward of 175 mph, battered Puerto Rico which saw extensive damage and left the island with 95% of its power down. Puerto Rico saw flooding and reported nearly 3,000 deaths making it one of the deadliest storms in United States history. However, the solar panel system which was in place on San Juan’s VA hospital saw no damage and the hospital was able to assist the veterans immediately after the storm thanks to solar panel efficiency.

Hurricane Florence (2018)

Most recently Hurricane Florence hit the state of North Carolina with speeds topping 135 mph. Being the 2nd solar state in the nation this was the most recent test to how well panels withstand hurricane forces. North Carolina’s solar farms held up with minimal damage. Randy Wheeless, a spokesman for the largest electric utility in the state, said that the only 12 panels were damaged, which was less than 1 percent of the total panels.

Being the nation’s top solar states, California has seen its fair share of bad weather and power outages in the past as well. This is another prime example of why these renewable energy sources are a great alternative to traditional energy as grids and power lines go offline, solar panel efficiency remains. People have gone days and even weeks without restored power after outages but with solar panels and solar home battery systems, individuals don't have to suffer.

Contact Plug It In Solar today to find out how we can help with your renewable energy needs and prevent you from losing your power during a storm. Hurricanes can create stressful times and the experts at Plug It In Solar can give you that peace of mind!

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