In 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The electric grid in Puerto Rico was severely damaged and reports indicated that the majority of transmission lines were destroyed, leaving millions of people without power for months. More frequently, aid is being facilitated to administer these disaster-stricken areas and some report shows how different locations were impacted by wind and hurricanes, where solar PV has done well, and where it has been destroyed. In theory, decentralized power systems, like renewable energy microgrids, enhance resilience because if one area suffers damage from a storm, distributed generation systems can provide localized power to certain areas and damages would not cascade through the entire system.

Scientists from the Strategic Energy Analysis Centre at the U.S Division of Power’s National Renewable Energy Research Laboratory (NREL) have actually examined how solar plants might do through a hurricane.

The NREL group found that the clouds connected with cyclones reduced solar outcome, yet generation was still high, due to large volumes of scattered irradiance. Across the 18 storms, the PV generation during the event never ever decreases listed below 18% of the clear-sky capacity and sometimes is nearly 60% of the clear-sky possibility.

During recent hurricanes which have made landfall in the United States, very little damage to solar arrays has been reported. Even in North Carolina, after Hurricane Florence, only a handful of solar sites out of hundreds were found to have any damage, and most of those cases were caused by floodwaters affecting solar electrical equipment, rather than high winds wrenching on solar panels.

While most solar arrays almost always emerge from a hurricane intact, not all of them can be powered-on right away. While the power grid is still down, solar arrays that do not have a battery storage system have to remain turned off. Those who do have a battery storage system can divert a portion of their power to the battery and run electricity in their house to power basic needs. Though most solar battery systems only provide a small amount of storage capacity, they can be incredibly useful in emergency situations like a hurricane, fire etc.

Solar arrays have already shown their resilience by defying storms. A professionally installed solar array with a battery storage system is a terrific asset in any area that is subject to severe weather patterns. In the aftermath of the worst storms, they are often the only sustainable source of electricity for residents.

Solar PV design and installation is the more variable stage of the solar process because every solar array site is unique. It is very important that installers choose the proper panels, racking system, and electrical routing for the particular job to ensure the longevity of the solar system. Luckily, professional installers like Staten Solar, are well versed in our craft and possess the adequate experience to ensure that solar arrays rarely fail.