Hurricanes are part of life for anyone living in the southeastern U.S. And for those who live in the coastal regions of states such as Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, you may wonder whether solar panels will work after a hurricane. Or whether solar panels can withstand the winds and rain of a hurricane. Both are very good questions, and ones we can answer. Keep reading to learn more about what happens with your solar panels during and after a hurricane.
Solar panels against hurricane forces
Solar panels are made to withstand some of Mother Nature’s most extreme conditions. The typical solar panel warranty is 25 years, which shows solar panels are meant to withstand all kinds of weather – hot, cold, rain, sun, wind and hail. The surface of solar panels is made of tempered glass, which makes the panels tough. If you knock on the surface of a solar panel, it sounds like you’re knocking on a front door, not on a window. That gives a good indication of the durability of solar panels. And we have even more proof.
In 2018, Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina coast with winds of approximately 100 mph. Supply, North Carolina, resident Matt Ruff lived in one of the areas most affected by the storm. While Ruff’s property experienced flooding, Ruff’s solar panel installation stood strong.
“These panels, they didn’t wiggle, they didn’t move through the storm,” Ruff said. “I can’t commend the installation enough. The guys that did it, did a great job.”
Solar panels can potentially withstand strong uplifting forces because they’re bolted to roof trusses, or, in Ruff’s case, to a ground-mounted structure made of metal. If winds were forceful enough to remove solar panels from their base, chances are that your home will have even more damage than just solar panel damage. With that said, it’s important that you have your solar panels added to your homeowners insurance. You want to protect your investment.
How to keep the lights on after a hurricane
One important thing to know about adding solar at your home is that solar panel systems are almost always connected to the power grid. That allows you to sell excess energy your home can’t use back to the grid, while also giving you access to additional power when needed. Solar panels shut down during grid outages because of safety concerns, and that’s what happened with Ruff’s solar panel installation. However, for those hoping to have electricity during grid outages caused by hurricanes or other severe weather events, we have options that can help keep the lights on.
Solar + Battery: When adding a battery backup system as part of your solar panel installation, extra energy produced by your panels is stored in your battery. If you’re working with POWERHOME SOLAR to install solar panels and a battery, your solar panels will be able to produce energy during an outage. The Generac battery we install will provide backup power to 4-6 critical loads, such as your refrigerator, microwave, sump pump or home office. When the power goes out, the battery kicks in and powers these loads, making sure your house can function with the necessities. No energy is sent back to the grid until the grid comes back up.
Solar + Generator: Solar combined with a whole home generator should allow you to go about your day as normal post-hurricane. The generator automatically turns on when a grid outage is detected. The Generac generator POWERHOME installs is powered by either propane or natural gas.
Solar + Battery + Generator: This combination allows for maximum protection following a hurricane. The battery allows for your home’s protected loads to use solar energy in the event of an outage. However, if the outage lasts multiple days, it’s possible that your battery runs out of energy. When that happens, your generator will kick in to power even the protected loads.
We recommend going for the solar + battery + generator combination if you live in a coastal region. Having the peace of mind that your home will have power during an outage is worth the investment. When it comes to your home, there is no such thing as being too safe. You want your power source to work after any hurricane, and having solar power plus a battery and generator covers all your bases.