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!). Rest assured that SunPower factors in all of these natural elements into your 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 a rigorous design and engineering process where the roof pitch, azimuth, average wind speeds, and snow loads are all taken into account specifically for that location. We analyze these factors in order to assure both you 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 is designed to take on the storm and your local municipalities have made sure that the installation of your panels has been completed correctly. Do not try to get on your roof and add anything that may damage the panels or the cells themselves. SunPower designs the panels 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 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. Many homeowners also document the original condition of the property prior to the storm. You can take detailed pictures of your solar panels from the ground so that you can show any storm damage.