Can Rooftop Solar Installations Withstand Heavy Wind?

In general, well-designed rooftop solar installations can withstand heavy wind. Depending on the wind-load requirements in your area, customized design and mounting hardware may be required.

Installation for wind is rated by region and height. For instance we may engineer a roof mounted non-penetrating ballasted design that will work on a 2 story building, but 3 miles away on top of a 15 story building the same array will have to be mechanically fasted to prevent damages due to heavy wind.

Wind speed, including wind gusts, can have physical impacts on solar PV systems. For example, if a solar PV system was not installed with the correct mounting equipment (e.g. rails, attachments, fasteners, etc.) and there are high wind gusts, then the system could be damaged.

However, wind damage is also rare. Solar power companies found that their customers` solar panels held up very well against Hurricane Sandy (max. wind speed of 115 mph) when it struck most of the eastern United States in October 2012. Make sure that you go with a reputable solar installer that will mount your solar panels properly (whether it`s on the roof or on the ground).

Keeping up to code

If you live in an area that’s particularly prone to hurricanes, your insurance company and/or local building codes may require “hurricane proofing” of your solar panels. For example In Florida, anything attached to a house has to comply with the Florida Building Code requirements for wind loads, which vary depending on the part of the state you live in. If you live on the southern coast, your solar panels will have to be installed to withstand the pressure of 150 mph winds. Your installer will know your local requirements and will take all the steps necessary to install the panels properly.

Conclusion

As stated in the above examples, there have been cases where the solar panels were intact even with wind speeds of 115 mph. Solar panels themselves are built using tempered glass for durability and safety and are designed to withstand hail and high winds. Depending on the wind-load requirements in your area, heavier mounting hardware may be required.

Did you know?

Solar panel warranties usually do not cover damage resulted from hail, lightening or wind.

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India Renewable Energy Expert