Anyone who lives in New York knows the state can experience some extreme weather conditions, often not too far apart from each other. At least once per year, we see a snowstorm and beach weather in the same week, along with scorching heat in the summer and frigid temperatures in the winter. However, solar panels are equipped to handle it all. Here’s some more about solar in extreme weather:
Extreme Cold and Snow
Extreme cold and snow is something every New Yorker struggles with during the winter months. A common myth about solar in the winter is that solar panels are less efficient during the winter months (1). Solar panels are more efficient in cold temperatures, but heavy snowfall can create some complications.
To mitigate the risk of snow burying the panels, solar is usually installed at an angle so light snowfall will slide off. However, during times of heavy snowfall, it may be necessary to clean off the panels so they can still function properly. In addition, the weight of a heavy snowfall can cause cracks, so removing any snow from the panels is the best bet to avoid serious damage. With Kasselman Solar, you are guaranteed a 25-year warranty on your system in the event of any serious damage.
Like extreme cold, extreme heat is also something every New Yorker experiences when the time is right. Heat waves are not a threat to solar panels, as most are designed to function in temperatures as high as 200 degrees F (1).
When solar panels are tested for their maximum power output, they are tested at an industry-standard temperature of 77 degrees F. Usually, solar panels generate less power once the temperature rises above 77 degrees F. While different manufacturers have solar panels that can handle different temperatures, solar systems generally become less efficient when temperatures rise above 95 degrees F (1).
Hurricanes and High Winds
Solar panels are designed to stay secure against high-speed winds. The most durable panels can handle winds of up to 150mph. Data shows that damage to solar panels from hurricanes occurs from solar panel racking, which happens during high winds if the equipment is installed poorly (1). This goes to show how important choosing the right installer for your solar project is. If debris falls on the panels, such as tree branches, that can cause damage, but solar panels are generally very durable against high winds themselves.
The Bottom Line
Though dysfunctional, solar can function in extreme weather. According to a report by the Associated Press, outages tied to severe weather have doubled in frequency since the early 200s (1). While we cannot control the weather, we can control how we handle these drastic situations. Most solar energy systems with only solar panels will not produce energy during a power outage. This risk can be avoided through adding a solar battery to your solar system, which allows your home to continue generating energy even when the grid is down.