With the news of Hurricane Irma’s uncertain effects to our area here in SWFL, we have received a lot of questions regarding how to prepare solar panels just in case of impact. Here are a few tips:
Solar Electric: A hurricane may cause utility power to fail. If this happens, your inverter(s) will cease to produce power and the system will automatically shut down (unless you have a backup battery installed). You may wish, as an added layer of protection, to shut down your system manually. This can be done by turning off the main photovoltaic disconnect switch(es) located near your utility meter (If not there, a sign near the meter should tell you it’s location). After the storm passes, it is very important to not handle ANY damaged solar electric modules as they may be high in DC voltage which is extremely dangerous. They should be treated like live utility wires. Contact us for an inspection if you observe any storm damage to your equipment.
Solar Pool Heating: In the event of a hurricane, it is wise to turn your pool pump off manually. To be sure, switch the pool equipment circuit breaker into the off position. You may have a breaker located at the pool pump itself or a breaker for the pool equipment in your main circuit panel. Turning off all sources of power is usually the safest and best option. Should you choose to not turn off the power to your pump, make sure that first your solar pool heating system is turned off and then isolated to stop any water flow to the panels mounted on your roof. Turning the isolation valves off manually so that water is not being pumped up to your roof is highly recommended.
This picture is of a typical solar pool heating manifold. The valves pictured here are open. With these style of handles, in order to close the valves, you want the handles to follow the pipe. The third valve pictured here is called a diverter valve and should be in the off position prior to isolating the solar pool heating system. If you have a controller, set the solar to “manual off”. Consult your manual or contact us for further assistance.
Note: Your valves may be a different style with red handles. Red handled ball valves are closed when perpendicular to the pipe and open when parallel to the pipe.
All Solar Products: Solar products that we install are covered by most homeowner’s insurance policies. If you have storm damage to any solar products, notify your insurance company, first, then call us immediately to receive a free repair or replacement quotation. Your solar investment should be treated like any other part of your home. Insurance companies may not be qualified to assess the cost to repair your solar energy products, so it is very important that you contact us to assess any damage. Having been in SWFL for over 40 years, we are very experienced in handling storm damage repairs and replacements.
Most importantly, keep yourself safe and protected. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us 239-574-1500