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Solar Panels Are Designed to Withstand Extreme Weather

Jim Shaw, Atlanta

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, James “Jim” Shaw is an investor specializing in commercial real estate, venture capital, and private equity. In connection with his professional endeavors, Jim Shaw has developed an interest in alternative energy. With recent extreme storms battering the southeastern region of the United States, including Atlanta, the durability of solar power installations has been put to the test.

Aware that solar panels would be forced to endure extreme weather, engineers have designed them to withstand winds of up to 140 miles per hour and large-scale hail. With that in mind, solar engineers can take several steps to ensure the survival of photovoltaic panels in the midst of extreme weather.

First, wind puts solar panels at risk. Though they are designed to withstand high winds, uplift can test the moorings of solar arrays. For fixed installations, they are forced to simply withstand the pressure. For arrays installed on trackers, the risk is diminished when panels are set to lie flat or angled in such a way to minimize damage. All loose debris should be removed from the areas as soon as possible to reduce the occurrence of damage.
Flooding during extreme weather is also a concern. With flood risks in mind, solar arrays should be installed in areas with excellent storm water runoff. Sensitive equipment should be installed at a sufficient height above the ground.
When proper precautions are taken, solar panels have survived remarkably well in the midst of extreme weather events such as Superstorm Sandy and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

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