Vinyasun Solar Blog

Can Solar Panels Really Survive a Hurricane?

Sure. Even a really bad one. 

There is a lot of concern from both consumers and policymakers that somehow solar panels won’t be able to stand up to Florida’s scrutinizing weather events. For that reason, building codes are extremely strict for solar, particularly in high wind hurricane zones like Palm Beach, Broward, and of course Miami-Dade — all in our primary local market.

To that point, that is why we install only certain brands of solar panels that are specifically built for high wind speeds and, believe it or not, high snow loads.

As you can see by the video taken from Tyndall Air force Base in the Florida Panhandle after Hurricane Michael made landfall a Cat 5 storm with sustained wind speeds as high as 162 MPH. To put it into perspective Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade require installation methods tested at 170-mph and 180-mph. Your panels aren’t likely going anywhere.

At Vinyasun, we love talking with Florida homeowners about their options when it comes to switching to solar. However, one of the biggest questions we always get is whether this type of technology can hold up to the massive winds and rainfall associated with a storm. 

Solar panels are a lot sturdier than most people believe and generally hold up well in bad weather. In fact, they’re manufactured to hold up to some of the most extreme weather conditions possible. Here’s what you need to know about solar panels and why they can easily survive a hurricane. 

Solar Panels Can Withstand High Winds 

Most solar panels are installed slightly above the roof, with a small gap underneath the panel itself. During a hurricane or even a windy day, air flows underneath and creates an updraft, which is completely normal. If you know anything about science, you’re probably trying to figure this out in your head. If there’s an updraft of significant force, how in the world do the panels stay in place? The answer is proper installation and quality materials. There have been several reports on rooftop solar surviving Cat 4 Hurricane Ida, in New Orleans. Here in Florida, most local municipalities understand this and have strict codes in place to ensure the panels used are able to withstand 140 to 160+ MPH winds at any given time. 

Do Solar Panels Work During Rain? 

The answer to this question is also yes. Solar panels capture both direct and indirect sunlight, meaning they’re still working even when there’s a storm. This also means that you’ll never be left without power when a major catastrophic weather event occurs. If your family has special medical needs or even just a desire to remain comfortable no matter what happens with the power grid, having solar panels is an excellent way to ensure you’re never without. 

What About Hail? Can It Damage a Solar Panel? 

The truth is that it would take very large hailstones to really cause damage to your solar panels. Again, they are built to last and withstand a high level of impact without any damage whatsoever. However, we have to add in a caveat that stranger things have happened. In most instances, a serious hailstorm can pass by and only damage one panel or a small piece of a panel. There are virtually no stories out there of a Florida homeowner experiencing major damage due to hail alone. Basically, it would take a very major to extremely catastrophic storm to cause a high level of damage to your panels and disrupt the system. 

Wrap Up: Florida Weather, Hurricanes, and Solar Panels

In short, modern solar panel systems are designed to hold up to nearly any type of weather possible. They’re manufactured and tested to withstand some of the worst conditions on the planet, meaning they’ll do just fine during one of our typical hurricanes here in Florida. In addition, local jurisdictions have made it a requirement only to install panels designed for our unique weather here in the Sunshine State. 

Are you ready to find out more about switching your home to solar? Please contact our Vinyasun team today to schedule a no-obligation virtual solar appointment.

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