Solar Power in the Carolinas Passed the Hurricane Resiliency Test

Hurricane Florence was a powerful, long-lived hurricane that caused catastrophic damage in the Carolinas during September 2018. Florence had enough wind power to uproot trees and cause widespread long-term power outages. Many residents had severe damage to their homes, including roof damage, flooding, major interior damage and many lost their homes. Even now weeks after Florence has passed Southeastern North Carolina is littered with debris, downed trees and homes covered by tarps. The Carolinas are rebuilding—there has been overwhelming support from the community to help others.

After Hurricane Florence passed, Cape Fear Solar Systems began efforts to check on their customers and the solar systems they installed. “We tell our customers that our systems can withstand a category 4 hurricane. If the panels are taken off by wind your roof would be gone as well,” explained Cape Fear Solar Systems Senior Project Manager, Robert Parker. Cape Fear Solar installs SunPower solar panels—the most durable panels available, rated for wind loads of up to 165 miles per hour. “We spent several days checking on our customers and their systems in high damage areas. None of our customers experienced damage due to wind. We had two customers that had a tree fall on their home and thankfully the panels helped shield their roof and we are working with their homeowner’s insurance to replace the affected panels,” Parker stated.

Cape Fear Solar Systems has been inundated with calls from individuals that had solar installed by other companies looking for help. In some cases, installers wouldn’t answer calls, and others went out of business. Forrest Sanderson, Cape Fear Solar Systems’ Residential Project Developer commented, “We always stress how important it is to choose a local experienced installer who can offer solid solar products. When checking in on our customers we came across a significant number of damaged solar systems that were not installed by local companies.”

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Many Cape Fear Solar Systems customers are choosing battery backup systems to pair with their solar so that they do not have to worry about power loss when the grid is down. “Battery backup systems are like insurance. Homeowners are covered in the event of a grid outage. We have several product options to meet various goals and budgets. Our company helps people gain energy independence, save money, and positively impact the environment,” concluded Sanderson. Currently there is a 30% Federal Tax Credit for solar and battery customers. Cape Fear Solar Systems has been serving Southeastern, North Carolina for over 10 years.