As you might imagine, people start calling solar contractors as storms approach. They are inquiring about how their solar panels will weather the storm or if they can get solar panels as a backup power source. When storms approach, it is generally too late to make these decisions, and new systems require a permitting/engineering/procurement timeframe.
There are tens of thousands of solar energy systems in the State of Florida, but only dozens of active/sizable solar energy companies. It would be impossible to obtain this kind of service once a storm is projected to hit an area. And solar companies need to protect their own assets and employees as storms approach.
The real question is why would you want to remove solar panels? Your solar energy system, if installed under permit by a licensed contractor, would have been installed to meet Florida Building Code. Building codes here have strict design wind speed requirements. An engineered system installed with quality components can withstand significant weather events. For example, most of Collier County has an ultimate design wind speed of 170 mph and there is a safety factor built into engineering drawings. Solar panels can survive hurricanes, but there is a limit to any building product’s ability to withstand mother nature.
However, there are no guarantees of course. Catastrophic winds and flying debris could damage solar panels. In all likelihood your home would sustain other damage in this case and you would be filing an insurance claim anyway. Solar panels would not increase the likelihood of damage, and in fact the fasteners could actually improve the attachment of the roof covering to the building’s structure. If you lose your roof altogether, there isn’t much you can do about that!
We encourage all solar energy owners to check with their insurance agent. Most insurance policies cover solar panels in the event of loss. Make sure you do not have any exclusions or riders that would make your solar panels uninsured, but we have found that to be rare.
Unfortunately, you will have little chance of finding a solar contractor to remove solar panels as storms approach. But you shouldn’t worry about them as much as the rest of your home’s building envelope and especially your personal safety.