HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Over 40,000 homes in Hawaii have rooftop photovoltaic systems. While those installed by licensed contractors are graded to withstand 105 mile per hour winds, there are certain risks to be aware of as severe weather approaches.
Colin Yost of Revolusun explains. “It's been a bit of a wild-west market in Hawaii for solar. I've heard of instances where they haven't used licensed contractors to do it. It can appear to be deceptively simple---you just screw these things into a roof and maybe it's fine".
However, if unlicensed work is done, and it’s not inspected, the threat of having an inferior product that is susceptible to severe weather increases.
"They should make sure they've secured their panels and are ready for this kind of event" said Yost.
Fortunately, there is good news for concerned consumers who have had licensed PV panels installed. “The entire solar industry is regulated like all other construction companies in Hawaii to have very strict building codes that take in to account that these extreme weather events are going to happen" Yost noted.
In addition to the wind rating, panels can withstand strong impact as well. Smart systems also protect against damage.
"If there's a power surge, the system is going to shut off automatically--it's designed to do that. If there's a blackout, the systems should restart automatically as well" said Yost.
Yost said once the storms have passed check to make sure there is no debris on any panels. Check to make sure the system is functioning properly as well.
If there is any damage, check your warranty and contact your installer.