Some customers ask, “Do I need to be concerned about my solar panels during a major storm?” I always respond with, “If that size storm is coming, we have more to be worried about than solar panels!”
We consider coastal areas to be more at risk during a big storm, however, there are plenty of people who live in interior sections of the country who have solar panels. We think of hurricanes and nor’easters, but they think of twisters and tornados. Harsh weather can include everything from rain to large amounts of snowfall (hello Connecticut!). However, you can feel assured that all of these natural elements are factored into a SunPower solar system from the beginning of design to the end of install.
What is a SunPower system certified to handle?
It is important to remember that a SunPower solar system has been designed from the very beginning to handle all types of weather. The panels are carefully measured, constructed, and engineered to withstand wind, rain, and snow loads: the Equinox system has been tested and certified for -40 to 149 degrees Fahrenheit, 1in diameter hail at 52 mph, and 160 MPH wind speeds, and 125 pounds per square foot (psf) snow load. SunPower has clearly designed their components to withstand all harsh inclement weather when installed correctly, no matter where you live.
How does the specific installation location get factored in?
At the beginning of the solar project, the specific house or installation location is put through rigorous design and engineering processes where the roof pitch, azimuth, average wind speeds, and snow loads are all taken into account specifically for that location. These factors are analyzed in order to assure both your contractor and SunPower that your system will withstand the conditions of your specific area.
If there is a terrible storm, is there anything I can do to prepare?
The first thing to do is to listen to local authorities and follow their instructions. If the authorities are suggesting you evacuate, get moving. There is no property you can protect by sticking around while placing yourself and your family at risk.
Your solar system has been designed to take on the storm and your local municipalities have made sure that the installation of your panels has been completed correctly and up to code. Do not try to get on your roof and add anything that may damage the panels or the cells themselves. The panels are designed to handle the worst of the worst. After the storm passes the same rule applies – do not try to get on your roof and secure any panels that may have been damaged. Do not try to remove debris that may be stuck on or under the panels. It’s best to hire a licensed contractor to handle these tasks for you. Something that you can do, prior to and after the storm is taking pictures. Many homeowners do this prior to a storm to document the condition of the property as it was before the storm. Make sure to get the best-detailed pictures of your solar panels (from the ground) so that you will be able to document any damage caused by the storm.
If you installed your solar with a battery storage system rather than pushing excess energy back to the grid, you may have stored enough energy to run your home if power is lost during the storm. Do keep in mind that your system may shut down for about 30 seconds before restarting in the event of a power loss. Also, just because you have power stored, you should be mindful of the resource and conserve when possible.
According to IHS Markit, the use of residential solar batteries in the U.S. is expected to quadruple in the next four years. SunPower has planned for this with the all-in-one SunPower Equinox home system, already compatible with Sonnen and Tesla battery storage systems.
Are you ready? To find out how you can go solar and become energy-dependent, request a free quote from us at SAVKAT Solar. Still have more questions? Check out our Solar 101 page or our FAQ page. If that still leaves you unsure, we are happy to answer any other questions by giving us a call at 800-860-6932.