In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria last year, FEMA has released a new report to help homeowners and solar professionals protect their solar systems from high velocity winds. The official report, titled Rooftop Solar Panel Attachment: Design, Installation, and Maintenance, provides recommendations on what to do if you’re considering installing a solar system in a hurricane-prone area, as well as steps that current system owners can take to prepare before a hurricane makes landfall.
FEMA recommends microinverters
FEMA provides guidelines on what type of equipment is best suited to withstand powerful winds, recommending microinverters over central and string inverters. Here is FEMA’s official statement on the advantage of microinverters:
We “recommend using microinverters where appropriate. Although these generally cost more than central or string inverters; they have several advantages. Unlike string inverters, microinverters have a greater chance of allowing undamaged panels of a PV array to continue to produce electrical power even if one panel is blown away or damaged by wind-borne debris. In an array using string inverters, if one panel is damaged, all the panels on the string will be offline.”
The report also provides additional recommendations to homeowners who currently own or are planning on installing a solar system in hurricane-prone areas. You can read more about FEMA's recommendations below, as well as check out what an installer in Florida, May Electric Solar, has to say about it:
What to consider before purchasing a solar system
Talk to your installer about anticipated wind loads in your area, and they can help create a system design that best suits your needs. Looking for an installer in your area? Try our Enphase Installer Network.