Can Solar Panels Withstand Intense Weather Conditions?
When the skies let loose and the winds begin to blow, many homeowners and business owners peer out the windows with a look of dread wondering if their solar panels will withstand the impending storm. The good news is that solar panels are designed to withstand a wide range of poor weather conditions. The not-so-good news is that Mother Nature can throw some curveballs into the equation, and some intense weather events have the potential to cause significant damage to your solar system.
Solera Energy wants to take the stress out of solar panel ownership so that you don’t panic every time it rains. Let’s explore the main weather concerns that solar panels face.
Hurricanes rarely ever reach Arkansas or Missouri, and when they do, they usually downgrade into tropical storms by the time they reach the area. This means they can have wind speeds of between 39 mph and 73 mph. Well-built systems with sturdy mounting systems can withstand these types of winds. In fact, most are built to withstand wind speeds of up to 140 mph, so it’s rare for high winds and heavy rains to damage solar systems.
This is the greatest concern for homeowners and business owners. Giant pieces of ice slamming into glass at high speed is a recipe for disaster, right? Not always. Solar panels are engineered to incorporate high-tech glass that is durable and safe. Most companies test their glass using golf ball-sized hail (about 1-inch diameter) launched at more than 70 mph.
It is not uncommon for solar panels to emerge from hail storms in better condition than the surrounding roofing structures. The exception is when the hail stones are larger than 1-inch or impact at greater speeds. Fortunately, this rarely happens because most hailstones fall at speeds ranging between 9 mph to 40 mph.
The typical EF0 or EF1 tornado has wind speeds of between 40 mph to 112 mph, which fall well below the standard solar panel wind rating of 140 miles per hour. Thus, the winds and debris blown by most tornadoes won’t damage solar panel systems. However, they can suffer damage if the tornado is an EF2 or higher. These tornadoes can pack wind speeds that can range from 113 mph to 318 mph and can cause significant damage to everything in their path, including solar systems.
About 1 in 5 tornadoes are rated EF2, and about 6% are rated EF3. Fortunately, EF4s account for just 1%, and EF5s are less than 0.1%. Thus, while some tornadoes can damage solar panels and solar batteries, these events are exceedingly rare, and thus there is minimal risk to solar systems in Arkansas and Missouri.
Checking Your System After the Storm
All storms pass, and when the skies clear, it’s always advisable to inspect your solar panel system for damage. Cracks and scratches, delamination, and loose mountings can have a negative effect on solar panel performance. The good news is that these issues are usually minor and easily repairable if they are promptly addressed by a trained solar panel specialist. Once repaired, your solar panels and solar batteries will deliver the same safe, reliable, and clean power generation they did before the storm.
Do you have more questions about solar panels and the typical poor weather events they are subjected to in Arkansas and Missouri? Contact Solera Energy’s solar panel technicians at (855) 650-7404.