As you prepare for hurricane Irene, I am sure you are extremely busy batting down the hatches, stocking up your homes, and planning for evacuation.
While you are taking care of all the essential items to keep your family and property safe, I am here to give you a small sense of relief when it comes to your rooftop solar array.
As part of the design process, a structural and wind analysis of your home or business was performed. The racking system that secures the panels to the roof was engineered to comply with your building code and meets the hurricane standards. Here on Long Island, your system was designed to withstand 120 MPH winds, which will surely suffice during Irene’s rage.
So focus on what needs to get done but rest assured, there is absolutely no need to secure your solar panels any more than they already are.
The only concern with the storm is flying debris so please secure your outdoor items.
A main concern that we all have as the hurricane approaches is dealing with downed power lines and power outages. Unfortunately, your solar system will not come to the rescue — you will experience a power outage just as everyone else if your area is affected. Almost all systems installed in our area are “grid-tied,” meaning your systems are hooked up to the power lines and your power is fed to you (or not fed to you) as everyone else.
Although at times like these we wish we could use our systems as backups, the benefits of being grid-tied far outweigh the drawbacks. For one, this is the safest option and eliminates the use of any corrosive batteries to store power. Batteries need to be disposed of and are harmful to the environment, which kind of defeats the environmental benefits to begin with. Being grid-tied also allows for net metering, producing more energy then you need and feeding it back into the grid for a credit on your bill. That’s what makes your investment ever more cost effective.
So while your solar panels will not offer you energy if the power goes down, they do not require any energy in prep for the storm.
I wish everyone a very safe and dry weekend and look forward to the sunshine on the other side!