Essential Solar System Maintenance Tips to Prepare for Hurricane Season

As hurricane season approaches, it is crucial for solar system owners to ensure their installations are properly maintained to minimize potential damage and maximize energy generation. Taking proactive steps before the storm hits can help safeguard your investment and keep your solar panels running efficiently. Here are some key maintenance tips to consider.

Inspection and Cleaning:

Before hurricane season arrives, schedule a professional inspection of your solar system. A certified technician can examine the panels, wiring, and mounting structure for any signs of wear, loose connections, or damage that could be exacerbated by strong winds. Additionally, it is essential to clean the panels thoroughly to optimize their performance. Remove debris, leaves, or dirt that may have accumulated on the surface, as these can hinder sunlight absorption and reduce energy production.

Reinforce Mounting Structure:

Ensuring the stability of the mounting structure is vital to protect your solar panels during hurricanes. Strong winds can exert tremendous force on the system, so reinforce the mounting racks or frames to withstand these conditions. Check for any loose or corroded bolts and tighten or replace them as necessary. Consider investing in hurricane-grade mounting brackets or wind clips to provide extra support and prevent panels from dislodging in extreme weather.

Secure Electrical Connections:

Hurricane-force winds can cause power outages and electrical surges. Safeguard your solar system by inspecting and securing all electrical connections. Verify that the wiring and connectors are properly fastened, and cover exposed connections with waterproof sealants or heat-shrink tubing. This helps prevent moisture infiltration and reduces the risk of electrical faults. Additionally, consider installing surge protectors to shield your solar system from voltage spikes that can occur during storms.

Taking proactive steps to maintain your solar system before hurricane season is crucial for its long-term durability and uninterrupted operation. Regular inspections, cleaning, and reinforcement of the mounting structure can significantly reduce the risk of damage. By implementing these essential maintenance practices, you can maximize the benefits of your solar investment and minimize potential disruptions caused by severe weather conditions.

Contact Florida Solar today for a service maintenance estimate.

How Do I Prepare My Solar Panels for a Hurricane?

How Do I Prepare My Solar Panels for a Hurricane?

We’re in the thick of hurricane season, and with it comes every Floridian’s annual tradition of planning and preparation. We’re keeping an eye on the tracking forecasts and making sure we’ve prepared our hurricane kits and plans for evacuation. If you’re also considering adding solar panels to your home, or you have done so recently, you may be wondering if you need to protect them.

While you don’t need to do anything to the panels themselves, there are some steps you can take as part of your storm readiness. First, let’s explore solar panels and their weather resistance.

About solar panels and storms

One of the many great things about a solar panel system is that you can rely on it to keep producing electricity during a storm. So if you’re thinking getting solar panels, you may be concerned about their durability in storms. The answer is reassuring: Properly installed solar panels are made to withstand even hurricane-strength winds and rain. And if they’re installed correctly by a certified professional like Florida Solar, they will also be watertight. They should also resist high winds up to 160 miles per hours, as required by most Florida cities. To give so context to this number, catastrophic damage is said to occur at 130mph.

Installers must also follow guidelines that ensure the panels stay secure in those winds. They do this by using a minimum number of fasteners that keep them in place.

With regard to lightning, it’s true that a direct or even indirect strike can damage the panels or your power inverter. But that is an unlikely occurrence. And if it did happen, you can take steps to mitigate, as we’ll see in the next section.

Preparing you solar panels for a hurricane

While you don’t have to do anything to the panels themselves, here are a few tips on what to do when the storm is heading your way.

  • Check your battery backup system.
  • Review your solar panel warranty and see if it covers damaged caused by storms and hurricanes.
  • Take photos of your panels before and after a storm.
  • Contact your home insurance agent to review your policy. Ask about the limits of coverage for wind and storm damage.

Questions about solar panels?

Call us at 727-300-1515 or just fill in our form and let us know if you have any questions about solar panels. Whether it’s related to storm resistance, energy savings, the installation process, or anything else, we’re here to help. We will install panels that are manufactured to withstand the high winds and intense storms that come with living in Florida.

What to Know Before the Storm

Much like all outdoor equipment, solar panels are subject to the changing weather. Depending upon where you live, your panels may experience heavy rain, high winds, or even hail.  Hurricanes are nature’s wildest storms, with winds reaching 160 miles per hour or higher, and the threat of catastrophic damage from these storms can be staggering. For that reason, places that are most prone to the threat of hurricanes like municipalities in Florida and Texas, require solar installations to withstand these heavy winds. By setting a high standard, homeowners can have the peace of mind that their solar project is planned with hurricanes and high winds in mind. In this article, we’ll examine how solar panel systems stand up to intense weather conditions, and what government organizations and industry groups are doing to improve their products and protect consumers from weather-related solar panel damage.

Solar Panels are Built Tough

As a whole, solar panels are durable and hold up very well in inclement weather. A report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on 50,000 solar energy systems installed between 2009 and 2013 indicates that only 0.1% of all PV systems have been reported as affected by damaged or underperforming modules each year.

Solar panels are like any other product. The good ones are built to last, while the cheap ones can be pretty flimsy. The result of higher-build and resiliency standards has been proven methods for installation that can withstand high wind speeds and keep solar panels in place, even during the worst storms. These methods include, among other things, mounting panels in place using heavy bolts screwed directly in roof beams. This greatly helps keep panels in place, and significantly reduces the risk of panels tearing pieces of roofs from homes.

Solar panels are also built to withstand the barrage of heavy rain or hail that accompanies a hurricane’s winds. Additionally, the aluminum and glass casings that hold solar cells are highly waterproof, even in the most extreme conditions.

Beyond the build quality of products, the solar industry has a vested interest in ensuring its products are designed to last. For that reason, there are numerous organizations within the industry working to make solar panels more durable and resilient, while keeping costs at a minimum. One such group, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, has worked for nearly a decade on research, development, and implementation of improved solar technologies — including weather resiliency.

In fact, a look back at some of our nation’s most catastrophic storms in recent history illustrates this point well.

New Jersey has one of the highest concentrations of single-family homes with solar panels in the country. So, when Hurricane Sandy barreled toward the Jersey Shore in 2012, thousands of solar customers in the area understandably prepared for the worst.

Although this region saw devastation on an unprecedented scale, most of the state’s solar panels were unaffected – only a very small number of solar panels sustained damage.

Most solar panels even withstood the havoc Hurricane Maria caused in Puerto Rico in 2017. The massive storm slammed into the island with winds exceeding 150 miles per hour.

But when it was all over, a veterans affairs (VA) hospital with a large 645-kW solar system was left operating at 100 percent – in San Juan, one of the most heavily affected areas.

Solar panels are one of the most durable and reliable energy technologies in the world, and industry efforts mean that they are becoming more resistant to severe weather damage every day. Installing a home solar energy system ensures that your home can produce its own power, even during severe weather events. Much like other home improvement projects, the more you are willing to invest in quality from the start, the better return you’ll get on that investment. While solar panels are built to withstand the worst that Mother Nature can throw at them, opting for low-quality panels from inexperienced installers can result in increased risks of damage when storms come your way.

If you’re interested in learning more about how durable and safe solar can be during a hurricane or other extreme weather event please contact us anytime at 727-300-1515 or