Can Hurricanes Damage Solar Panels?

Posted on September 25, 2023


Frances Badayos | author

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ICHQ | Site Author

More and more Americans are purchasing solar panels. Some are doing so to lessen their environmental impact. Others are seeking cost savings or seeking to rely less on power companies.

However, if you are in an area that is at risk for hurricanes, you may wonder what the risks are for hurricane damage to solar panels. Can hurricanes ruin solar panels? Does your insurance protect your investment?

From the homeowners insurance claim attorneys at Insurance Claim HQ, we share some information on how safe it is for solar panels during hurricanes.

Can Solar Panels Withstand Hurricanes?

Current solar panels have been able to withstand several different hurricanes.

Many solar panels are designed to withstand wind gusts of up to 140 miles per hour. Both Texas and Florida building codes require that solar panels be able to withstand up to 150 mph winds.

This represents a low-end Category 4 hurricane.

However, older panels from the early 2000s or earlier may not meet this standard, and a high Category 4 or a Category 5 storm could cause significant damage to even more recent solar panels.

In addition, while UL-listed solar panels are designed to resist hail, flying debris, such as rocks and branches, can damage solar panels, especially from high winds.

Large-scale solar farms have been operational within 24 hours of several major hurricanes, such as Hurricanes Michael and Florence.

Can Heavy Rain Affect Solar Panels?

Rain may prevent solar panels from generating electricity during the storm, but once the storm passes, solar panels are likely to return to normal operation. Rain may actually wash dirt off of the solar panels, which could lead to improved performance.

Solar panels have seals around the edges, which may degrade over time. As the seals degrade, rainwater may seep into the panels. In addition, rainwater may enter through small cracks in the panels. Over time, this may lead to a loss of efficiency in the solar panels. Newer thin-film cells may be more sensitive to water than older silicon-based cells.

Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage to Solar Panels?

A standard homeowners insurance policy will cover most solar panel installations on your home. However, you may need riders or endorsements to cover certain perils.

In addition, solar panels on garages, outbuildings, carports, or ground-level solar installations may not be covered under a normal policy and may require a supplemental policy. If your insurance does not cover solar panels, insurance may be available from the manufacturer or the company from which you lease solar panels.

Always be aware of what your home insurance does and doesn’t cover in relation to the structures of your home and the weather-related threats it faces. Knowing whether you’re covered makes all the difference if you need to file an insurance claim for solar panel damage.

Contact Us If Your Home’s Solar Panels Have Hurricane Damage.

If your home has suffered solar panel damage from high winds, you may need legal help to get the compensation you deserve. Contact our homeowners insurance claim lawyers at Insurance Claim HQ for a consultation today.