Can Home Solar Panels Survive a Hurricane?

solar panels and hurricanes
Image courtesy of NASA.

With Hurricane Matthew lashing out at the eastern coast of the United States, many consumers are wondering if their home solar panels can withstand the high winds and driving rain.

It turns out that home solar panel makers and installers have already pondered this question, and have enlisted the help of a team of researchers at Florida International University.  These researchers designed a 15 foot-tall “Wall of Wind” to simulate full-blown hurricanes.  The 12 gigantic fans can mimic the intensity of a Category 5 hurricane and allow the team to test solar panels and construction materials to determine if they are able to withstand winds reaching up to 157 miler per hour.

Are My Home Solar Panels A Real Risk?

According to the Florida Solar Design Group, your home faces the same risks from a hurricane, whether you have solar panels installed or not.  From a practical standpoint and observation, they state that in a catastrophic hurricane one of a few things will likely happen:

  • The entire roof will come off, solar panels still attached.
  • Areas of the roof without solar panels will have serious damage that makes removing and replacing the solar panels the best option.
  • Like shingles or tiles, solar panels will be torn off the roof, leaving the attachment points in place and watertight.
  • Your house and solar panels will be spared even though the neighbor may have catastrophic damage.

 So don’t be afraid to install home solar panels if you live in a hurricane prone area, just make sure that your homeowner’s insurance will cover the replacement of your panels in case the worse happens.

Tracey Smith About Tracey Smith
Tracey is an accountant and entrepreneur with a passion for nature. This passion is what spurred her interest in renewable energy, and the rest is history as they say. Tracey is a principal in Energy Think Group, the publisher of Solar Thermal Magazine and Tek-Think. She is also the principal at Women's Financial Help Desk. She spends her free time in the outdoors with her horses and dogs. She loves to travel.

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