How Safe Are Solar Panels in Lightning Storms?
Aug. 15, 2023
Solar panels are remarkably durable and can withstand many types of severe weather, including thunder and lightning storms. Solar panels don’t attract lightning and won’t increase your home’s risk of being hit.
It is, however, possible for lightning to hit your solar panels. Keep reading to find out what happens if lightning strikes your solar panels and how to protect your solar panels from storm damage.
What Happens if Lightning Hits a Solar Panel?
It’s pretty uncommon for lightning to strike a house, but it does happen. If you have solar panels on your roof, they are also at risk of being struck by lightning. If your solar panels are struck, they will most likely sustain damage. The amount and severity of the damage will depend on how direct the lightning strike is.
- Direct lightning strikes cause the most severe damage. A direct strike can damage your solar panels, inverter, and cables. The extreme heat generated by a lightning bolt can melt or shatter solar panels. Thankfully, direct lightning strikes are extremely rare.
- Indirect lightning strikes are more common and less severe. An indirect strike can cause a high-voltage surge in your solar panel system, resulting in damage to the panels, inverter, and other system components.
What to Do If Your Solar Panels Are Hit by Lightning
If your home solar panels are hit by lightning, you should have them inspected by a professional. Lighting damage can impact your system’s performance and it can also pose a safety risk. It’s important to shut your system down and schedule an inspection with a solar expert immediately after a lightning strike. You may need to repair or replace components of your system and shouldn't turn your system back on until the necessary repairs have been completed.
In some cases, solar panel storm damage is covered by homeowner's insurance. Check your policy to see if you can file a claim.
Solar Panels & Lightning Protection
There aren’t any lightning protection products available that will keep your solar panels 100% safe from lightning storms, but there are ways to protect your system. In most cases, you can avoid solar panel storm damage simply by having your system installed by a professional solar company.
Boston Solar complies with all local building code regulations to ensure a safe solar panel installation. There are several factors that contribute to a safe solar panel installation. Two of the most important for lightning protection include:
A grounding or earthing system creates the most effective and safest route for excess electricity to flow back into the ground. Grounding systems protect solar panels from the high-voltage surges that lightning strikes can cause.
Solar surge protection devices play a critical role in protecting solar panel systems from power surges or voltage spikes caused by lightning strikes. They are designed to shield your solar panels and products from high voltages.
How Durable Are Solar Panels in a Severe Storm?
Lightning isn’t the only factor to consider during a summer thunderstorm. Thunderstorms also tend to bring heavy rain and high winds that can also have an impact on your solar panels. Thankfully, solar panels are remarkably durable in the face of severe weather, as long as they’re properly installed.
Heavy rain will not damage your solar panels. In fact, it will help keep them clean and improve their performance by washing away the grime that can build up on them during dry periods and block sunlight.
The wind is also unlikely to damage your solar panels. Most solar panels are certified to withstand winds up to 140 miles per hour. For context, moderate tornadoes only have wind speeds up to 112 miles per hour. As long as your solar panels are installed according to manufacturer specifications, you will only have to worry about wind damage during extremely severe storms, like a severe tornado or hurricane.
Safe & Reliable New England Solar Panel Installation
Boston Solar is the leading local solar panel company in New England with over 11 years of experience. We have installed over 5,000 solar energy systems and we know how to get the job done right. Our technicians are licensed and certified in-house employees who you can trust with your home solar installation.
We offer free consultations for residential solar panel installation and are happy to answer any questions you have about solar panels and storm damage. Check out our residential solar FAQs for quick answers to common questions, or reach out to us today!
Schedule your free solar consultation! Call 617-858-1645 or contact us online today.