How durable are solar panels at Florida?

Hurricanes are nature's wildest storms, with wind speeds of up to 160 miles per hour or more. All this wind can blow trees, destroy mobile homes and throw debris around, which leads to big problems.

But what about solar panels in a hurricane? Surprisingly good, it turns out. Solar panels are built to withstand the high wind speeds and the effects of hurricanes and other storms. The solar shelf is securely attached to your rafters with long, sturdy bolts.

In Florida, strict wind regulations apply to ensure that manufacturers build solar panels that can withstand hurricane winds. You must meet the requirements of the Florida Building Code, which has been in force since 2010. The code requires that the components and panels of solar panels withstand wind loads that they can withstand. Many areas in Florida require installations that can withstand wind speeds of at least 160 mph. Solar companies install solar systems on the basis of design drawings – and local construction authorities check them accordingly.

Solar companies must securely attach solar modules to a building with sufficient mounting points to withstand the wind suction. They fix them with a mounting system that anchors the roof formwork in the roof trusses with tension screws, which makes the roof stronger and stronger. This makes Florida solar panels less susceptible to damage from debris during a storm.

In some cases, solar panels and the underlying roof perform even better than non-solar areas during and after a hurricane. And the same basic risks of a hurricane exist with or without solar panels. For example, the whole roof could come off with the solar panels still attached, or your roof and solar panels are fine while your neighbor suffers serious damage.

After Hurricane Irma, there were no catastrophic or widespread reports of damage to solar panels in southwest Florida. The industry did not get off quite unscathed, as there were some reports that the wind tore individual panels from roofs. However, there were no problems with leaks, since the fastenings did not come off the roofs – the panels bend to give in and bend where they come out of their clamps.

Since most solar panel systems are based on microinverters, the systems worked effectively until the electricity returned. There were also no reports of problems with battery backup systems. In total, the hurricane affected only an extremely small number of the tens of thousands of houses with solar panels.

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