Preprint / Version 1

Bayesian Updating of Solar Panel Fragility Curves and Implications of Higher Panel Strength for Solar Generation Resilience




Bayesian update, fragility functions, hurricane hazards, solar panels, structural reliability


Solar generation can become a major and global source of clean energy by 2050. Nevertheless, few studies have assessed its resilience to extreme events, and none have used empirical data to characterize the fragility of solar panels. This paper develops fragility functions for rooftop and ground-mounted solar panels calibrated with solar panel structural performance data in the Caribbean for Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and Hurricane Dorian in 2019. After estimating hurricane wind fields, we follow a Bayesian approach to estimate fragility functions for rooftop and ground-mounted panels based on observations supplemented with existing numerical studies on solar panel vulnerability. Next, we apply the developed fragility functions to assess failure rates due to hurricane hazards in Miami-Dade, Florida, highlighting that panels perform below the code requirements, especially rooftop panels. We also illustrate that strength increases can improve the panels' structural performance effectively. However, strength increases by a factor of two still cannot meet the reliability stated in the code. Our results advocate reducing existing panel vulnerabilities to enhance resilience but also acknowledge that other strategies, e.g., using storage or deploying other generation sources, will likely be needed for energy security during storms.


Download data is not yet available.