- William Ortega
What makes Miami-Dade solar installs so durable against hurricanes?
1. Miami-Dade County is located within the High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ).
What is HVHZ?
After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, South Florida building codes were completely rewritten to ensure structures could withstand the stronger storms. The High Velocity Hurricane Zone (or HVHZ) in Florida encompasses Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
It lays out specific building codes which apply to these counties that were particularly affected by hurricane Andrew. It was written to ensure south Florida structures are safe and structurally sound, even through high velocity, hurricane force, storm winds.
What does this mean for a solar installation?
Because of the specific, strict building codes established within the HVHZ, all structures must be able to withstand wind gusts between 170 and 180 mph. Areas closer to the coast have higher wind speed resistance requirements than more inland areas. Each area has specific zoning, and requirements based on that zone’s storm exposure.
All materials used in permanent structures must be tested and meet zone wind resistance requirements. Materials that cannot meet the high requirement will not be approved in the permitting process.
Solar materials for your installation are no exception to the rule. Every single piece of equipment installed meets and exceeds these building code requirements.
Our solar panels have a minimum of 4000 pascal uplift resistance.
A pascal is a pressure of one newton per square meter. For a frame of reference, 100 pascal is about the pressure of direct impact from a strong breeze at about 28mph. Imagine the force of 4000 pascal! Our panels are built to resist uplift even during storm season.
The panel is only part of the whole system!
Mounting systems refer to the equipment and methods used to attach your solar panels to your roof. Our mounting systems are tested thoroughly. All attachments are rated for the required uplift to meet or exceed your roof’s rating.
Did you know? Solar installations make your roof structurally stronger!
Your rooftop solar array is designed for your area and meets or exceeds the wind resistance requirements or it will not be approved by the city issuing the permit.
2. Permitting Process. While on the topic of city approval, it’s important to note that solar installs in Miami-Dade are subject to the approval of reviewers, and inspectors from the city/county.
Building reviewers and inspectors in Miami-Dade are top-notch, best in class and always learning about the ever-growing solar industry. They know what they are looking for and have high levels of scrutiny reviewing plans.
Projects approved by these reviewers and inspectors are designed correctly and will withstand the south Florida storm seasons.
3. South Florida storms regularly test installations in real world conditions.
Since the establishment of south Florida’s strict building codes, they have been tested year after year as storms come though.
Real world performance data shows the success of rooftop solar and reinforces that the high standard building codes are working. (Read our blog post on a Hurricane Strong Installation (cbsolar.miami) )
4. South Florida coastlines have a salty sea breeze.
This might seem like a strange reason for solar installations to be more durable, but it’s true! Coastal areas experience salt corrosion in outdoor structures. Because of this, materials for a solar installation must be metals that won’t corrode in the salt like aluminum or stainless steel.
These materials are stronger and more durable than alternatives on the market. They won’t corrode in the salty air, and they make for a much more durable installation overall.
Miami Dade solar installations are built to last. They are structurally part of the home, and from idea to installation they are meant to withstand hurricane force winds. The solar industry is growing and adapting rapidly. As more and better product comes to the market, installations will only get stronger and more secure.
The high standards established in Miami-Dade, benefit your south Florida home, and set an example for the rest of the country.
Until next time, Let the SUN power your lifestyle!