Hurricane Ian recently devastated central Florida, knocking out power and tearing apart infrastructure in its path. But buildings with solar panels on their roofs suffered less damage and enjoyed restored power in its immediate aftermath.
Over the years, we have heard business owners express a number of understandable, but unfounded, concerns about entrusting their businesses to solar power. Perhaps the issue that creates the most anxiety is how well solar holds up during and after significant weather events. In fact, employing solar can protect your property and increase the resilience of your business.
How did solar protect property in Florida, and in central Texas following an ice storm that knocked out power to millions of people for a week two years ago? That is part of the beautiful story of solar energy both for its users and for the power grid.
Solar Panels Offer Physical Protection from Storms
With roof-mounted photovoltaic solar panels, the mechanical connection anchors to the roof structure, adding weight and strength. Before installing roof arrays, engineers will evaluate the roof and may recommend enhancements to accommodate the solar panels. This further reinforces the integrity of the roof structure.
Additionally, solar panels protect the surface of the roof immediately below them from wind, snow, hail and rain. We have seen many examples of roofs damaged by hail except in those areas covered by solar panels.
The panels themselves are tested in a variety of conditions and engineered to repel some of the worst weather conditions that may come their way. For example, most solar panels are manufactured to withstand inch-sized hail smashing down at 50 miles-per-hour. Typical hailstorms deliver at most half-inch hail at 20 miles-per-hour.
In 2017, a powerful hailstorm ripped through parts of Colorado, slamming communities with hailstones up to three inches in diameter, leaving widespread damage in its wake. The 3,000-panel solar array on the roof of the National Renewable Energy Lab weathered the storm with only one broken panel.
Solar panels are also completely waterproof and designed to stand stalwart in winds as strong as 140 miles-per-hour, stronger than almost all hurricanes and most tornadoes. Higher winds of extreme caliber are a threat to the structural integrity of entire building structures.
Solar Power Increases Resilience Following Storms
Solar power really proves its mettle in the wake of storms. While high winds can down power lines and cause widespread misery, they do nothing to the sun, which shines again once the storm passes. Businesses with solar power and battery backup may resume operations even during power outages and be able to maintain critical operations even during the storm.
Solar power increases business resilience during and after damaging storms by diversifying a business’s power options. By distributing power generation, they also lighten the stress on the electrical power grid by offering localized energy production.
To any business owner concerned about the impact of weather on their operations, we tell them this: get solar quick! It doubles your power options, provides greater resilience and even offers physical protection to the building structure.