Preprint / Version 1

Modeling Solar Generation during Hurricanes




Disaster resilience, solar panels, distributed energy resources, hurricanes, climate change


Because solar generation adoption shows unprecedented growth, our power systems may extensively rely on solar generation infrastructure as the primary source of modern and clean energy in just a few decades. Despite this growth, very few studies have captured solar generation infrastructure's behavior during natural disasters to understand their real benefit for resilience. Here, we present an integrative methodology to quantify solar generation during hurricanes. The methodology combines a hurricane hazard model, solar irradiance quantification, solar panel vulnerability, and a model for irradiance decay during hurricane conditions. We develop the irradiance decay model through a mixed-effect regression on a dataset that merges historical Global Horizontal Irradiance and the revised data of Atlantic hurricane activity. The methodology is applied to 21 states in the Eastern U.S. for different extreme events. Our results show that for events with return periods of up to 33 years, the loss in generation stems from cloud conditions during hurricanes. However, less frequent events can cause solar panel failure, especially in southern regions of the U.S., triggering complete loss of solar generation. Given that solar generation is expected to grow significantly, these results advocate for higher standards in the structural design of solar panels.


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