As the transition to a decarbonized future builds momentum and extreme weather events increase, C&I solar project developers and EPCs face new challenges and opportunities.
Smaller rooftop installers seeking to join the multi-megawatt club need to be aware of extreme weather conditions, especially in regions like the southern coastal states where irradiance is high but hurricanes pose significant risks. Larger solar farms face a different set of considerations, including how long-term weather patterns factor into the project.
Without reliable and tested PV components that can perform in the high winds of a hurricane, developers and EPCs in these regions won’t be able to leverage the solar boom to grow their businesses. Let’s look at how hurricanes can threaten a PV installation and which solar panels provide the reliability and durability needed to withstand these weather events.
Rising Hurricane Activity Increases Risks
A hurricane’s intense wind speeds can reach anywhere from 74 mph for a Category 1 hurricane to 160+ mph for a Category 5. The winds of a Cat 4 or Cat 5 hurricane can decimate poor-quality solar modules, racking, and trackers.
While major hurricanes have been relatively rare historically, a recent study from MIT shows that global climate change fuels an increase in Atlantic hurricane activity and intensity. With hotter temperatures trapping more moisture in the atmosphere and warming the oceans, the water has more energy to convert into wind, contributing to more severe hurricane activity.
As the country races to install more renewable energy capacity, solar developers and EPCs in areas of heightened hurricane activity need to ensure they’re deploying PV modules, racking, and trackers that can withstand extreme weather conditions. And not just for the present moment. It’s equally important to account for the potential increase in the number and severity of hurricanes over the 20-to-30-year lifespan of a PV site.
Component reliability and durability will be essential in surging solar markets like Texas and Florida, which fall in the North Atlantic pathline where hurricane activity and severity are rising. With Texas recently surpassing California for most new solar capacity additions and Florida also experiencing a solar boom, reliable and durable solar components will be critical for developer and EPC success.
C&I Solar Success Story: The Glades RV Resort
Like any product, poor-quality PV modules can be flimsy and unable to handle extremely high winds. Bankable original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) build solar panels that last, even during hurricanes. In the face of new project risks from extreme weather, C&I solar developers and EPCs have access to tried-and-tested solutions.
To determine how well solar panels will perform during hurricanes, third-party organizations test and assess the panels in real-world conditions. Multiple independent third parties have put Trina Solar’s modules to the test, consistently showing that Trina Solar’s panels perform remarkably well under extreme weather conditions.
Due to this consistently high performance, when the Glades RV Resort decided to build a solar farm to save money on the park’s energy costs, the project developers chose Trina Solar’s DUOMAX 400W 144-cell monocrystalline bifacial modules.
The developers knew from the onset that the park’s location in Moore Haven, Florida, was smack dab in the middle of hurricane alley. This site required a highly customized PV system design with exceptionally reliable solar panels and hurricane-resistant structures.
The reliability and durability of Trina Solar’s DUOMAX panels were crucial for a PV system that faced the high wind speeds and hurricane risks common to Moore Haven. The developers then brought in Trina Solar’s C&I Solutions to help complete the 1 Megawatt (MW) solar farm at the Glades RV Resort.
Now, the Glades Resort is one of the first RV parks in the country to be fully solar-powered, boasting a 1 MW solar power station. Click here to download the free customer success story detailing how the Glades RV Resort project came together.
Want to know more about how Trina Solar’s modules can withstand the harsh conditions of a hurricane or how the C&I Solutions team can help with your solar project? Reach out to the solar experts at Trina Solar today.
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