IBHS has been examining wind effects on roof-mounted PV solar panel arrays (groups of solar panels that often are seen on commercial roofs). This research is of growing importance as the number of solar energy installations is increasing rapidly around the country. Solar panels and arrays that fail or become detached can cause extensive damage to roofs, weakening a building’s protection against severe weather. They also can become flying debris, which is a hazard to anything in the vicinity.
This research is timely and important because there currently are no industry-accepted guidelines or standards for how to apply wind loads to each specific PV array, or what level of response (i.e., how much movement) is acceptable. IBHS is now working with other industry stakeholders to develop standards and guidelines that will address both of these issues.