Florida is blessed with 230 days of sunlit days on an average. This very reason prompted the state legislature to adopt 'The Sunshine City' nickname officially. Among the cities in Florida, Tampa is one of the most prominent zones that receives 2,070 hours of sunshine. No wonder, the former Florida governor and present representative of Florida in the United States House of Representatives, Charlie Crist, has urged citizens and enterprises in Florida to adopt more solar energy in their day to day living and operations. In 2009, the average cost of installing residential panels was about $30,000. In 2017 this has come down drastically to $12,500 per home. By going solar, one can save at least $2,000 on their utility bills. All these benefits have prompted many homeowners to install solar panels in their homes. However, the number is still negligible compared to the solar giants like California and New Jersey. Millions of Floridians still stay in divided mind whether to install solar panels or not just because they lack any clear idea of the durability and efficiency of the Photovoltaic panels. Don’t join this group. If you are keen on embracing this green energy solution for your Tampa home, make an informed decision. Here are a few important points to take note of before you install solar panels in your Tampa home:
How Strong Are Solar Panels?
The solar modules installed at homes are lightweight but sturdy, and aesthetically pleasing. The crystalline silicon-based photovoltaic (PV) cells can withstand extreme weather conditions. In 2012, during Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey was ravaged by the strong wind of 115 miles per hour, and despite all that the solar panels in the home area of New Jersey hardly registered any damages. The solar panels are built to withstand the forces of nature. At the time of the installation, technicians have to follow certain safety guidelines, which also ensures that the panels remain mounted in perfect angle. Correctly installed PV cells can easily withstand storms and strong winds.
Hailstorms are rare occurrences in Florida but when they strike, they wreak havoc with homes and personal properties. However, hailstone damage on solar panels and shingles are rare, and this is because PV panels are laminated with a protective layer of acrylic. The effectiveness of acrylic glass casing is proven in the lab test. In one such test, the testers have seen that a panel can withstand hailstones with the projectile of 260 miles per hour. The solar installation companies also take this into account that most hail storms in America come from the northern direction, and that is one among many reasons why PV cells are commonly installed on the south side of the roof throughout Florida.
Do Solar Panels Work in Cloudy Weather?
When the sky is cloudy and overcast, people may think their solar panels have stopped working, but the sun's UV rays still reach to solar cells and produce electricity of considerable amount.
Are Solar Panels Long Lasting?
A solar panel lasts for30 years. During that time, most systems require little to no maintenance. A yearly efficiency depreciation of a solar panel is negligible. Each year, a PV cell only loses 0.5 percent in overall efficiency. Hence, after 25 years, a fully working PV cell still gives about 90 percent of its prescribed output.
Are There Any Special Requirements for Solar Panel Set Up in Florida?
Summer evenings in Florida are rife with thunderstorms, and at the same time, the region adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico is hurricane prone. The administration, as well as insurance companies operating in these regions, have mandated special building codes for hurricane-proofing of solar installed homes. In fact, in Florida, anything attached to a house has to go by the rulebook of Florida Building Code Requirements for Wind Loads. The regulation may vary from one region to another. In the southernmost coast, the installed solar panels need to withstand the wind-pressure of 150 miles per hour.
The efficiency of a solar panel depends upon its tilt. The angles of the PV cells should be changed throughout the year depending upon the incident angle of the sun. During the winter, the tilt angle should be around 65 degrees and during the summer, it should be reduced to an optimal range of 40 degrees. The best tilt angle of the solar cells depends upon the latitude of your location. For the optimum output, you have to change the angle throughout the year depending upon the solar intensity and the climate in your region. If you are not confident of handling this job yourself, just outsource the task to your solar installer.
Are There Any Special Requirements for Upkeep of Solar Panels?
Solar panels require minimal effort to maintain. Once the installation is done, you can safely leave the cells to work on their own. However, you cannot prevent dust from accumulating over them. Simply use your garden hose to keep dust off your solar panels. Cleaning the cells either in dawn or late at night when they are not working. Water pressure of a garden hose will keep off any fallen leaves and debris from the surface of solar cells. Sometimes people install protective mesh or caging around the installed PV cells to prevent small birds and squirrels from either nesting in the solar zone or chewing away the connector cables.
Do Insurance Policies Cover Solar Panels?
Solar panels are hardy. They can withstand any inclement weather. Even then you may need the security of an insurance cover for your valuable assets. The good news is that any solar panel issues arising due to inclement weather conditions are covered by both insurance policy and manufacturer's warranty.
A popular tourist destination and a thriving tech-hub, Tampa is now making its mark in the US solar panel industry, too. Florida is the fourth most populated state in the USA, and if a sizable populace in the Sun Shine state starts going big on solar, the whole scenario of energy consumption in the southern region of America will change drastically. Tampa is braced for the change. Aren’t you going to be a part of this revolution?